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($fc Ritiembe pre&g, 

The dd Teutonic Assembly rose again to full life in the New 
England town-meeting, Freeman. 

Samuel Adams, the helmsman of the Revolution at its origin, 
the truest representative of the home rule of Massachusetts in its 
town-meetings and General Court. Bancroft. 

A man ichom Plutarch, if he had only lived late enough, would 
have delighted to include in his gallery of worthies, a man uho 
in the history of the American Revolution is second only to Wash- 
ington, Samuel Adams. John Fiske. 


A LIFE of Samuel Adams from beyond the 
Mississippi ! Of all the worthies of Boston is 
there one more thoroughly Bostonian, and is it 
not impertinence, bordering upon profanity, for 
the wild West to lay hold of his name and fame ? 
The writer of this book believes that his pages 
will exhibit in Samuel Adams a significance by 
110 means circumscribed within narrow limits. 
The story of his career can as appropriately 
claim the attention of the West yea, of the 
North and South as of the East. 

But if it should be thought that only New 
England hands can touch, without sacrilege, so 
sacred an ark, it may be urged that the members 
of that larger New England, which has forsaken 
the ungenerous granite of the old home for the 
fatter prairies and uplands of the interior, re- 
main, nevertheless, true Yankees, and have bar- 
tered away no particle of their birthright for 
the more abundant pottage ; they will by no 
means consent to resign any portion of their 

viii PREFACE. 

interest in the gods, altars, and heroes of their 

If a personal reference may be pardoned, the 
writer can claim that it has come down in his 
blood to have to do with Samuel Adams. His 
great-great-grandfather, a colonel of the Old 
French War, was sent, in the pre-revolutionary 
days, by the town of Concord to the Massachu- 
setts Assembly, and was one of Sam Adams's 
faithful supporters in the long struggle when 
at length Bernard and Hutchinson were foiled 
and driven out. In the post-revolutionary days 
the writer's great-grandfather, a former captain 
of minute-men, sat for Concord for some years 
in the Massachusetts Senate, under the sway of 
Samuel Adams as presiding officer. When, on 
the fateful April morning, Gage sent out the 
regulars to seize Sam Adams and John Han- 
cock, proscribed and in hiding at Lexington, 
the ancient colonel and the captain of minute- 
men, leaving at their homesteads the provincial 
powder and cannon-balls concealed in the barns 
and wells, had a main hand in organizing and 
carrying through, at the north bridge in Con- 
cord, the diversion which enabled Sam Adams 
to escape, unmolested, to the Congress at Phila- 
delphia. The writer's grandfather, in the next 
generation again, just arrived at musket-bearing 
age in the hard time of Shays's Rebellion, sus- 


tained Governor Bowdoin and the cause of law 
and order, among the rank and file, as did the 
aged Samuel Adams in a higher sphere. 

Of all the " embattled farmers " who stood 
in arms at Concord bridge on the day when the 
arch-rebel eluded the clutch of King George, 
the captain of the minute-men, it is said, is the 
only one whose portrait has been transmitted 
to our time. That portrait has hung upon the 
wall of the writer's study while he has been 
busy with this book ; and it has required no 
great stretch of imagination sometimes, among 
the uncertain shadows of midnight, to think that 
the face of the old " Revolutioner " grew genial 
and sympathetic, as his great-grandson tried 
to tell the story of the " Chief of the Revolu- 

Though writing, for the most part, in St. 
Louis, the author has traveled far to study 
authorities. Whatever the Boston collections 
possess, manuscripts, old newspapers, pam- 
phlets, books, has been freely opened to him, 
and examined by him. His greatest oppor- 
tunity, however, was offered to him at Wash- 
ington, by the kindness of Honorable George 
Bancroft. Mr. Bancroft holds in his possession 
most of the manuscripts of Samuel Adams yet 
extant, together with a large number of auto- 
graph letters written to Mr. Adams throughout 


his long life by conspicuous men of the Revolu- 
tionary period. These original papers, a col- 
lection of the greatest value and interest, the 
writer has been permitted, by the politeness of 
Mr. Bancroft, to use with entire freedom. This 
politeness the writer desires most gratefully to 

Much help has been derived from the " Life 
of Samuel Adams," by William V. Wells, his 
great-grandson, whose three large octavos give 
evidence of much painstaking, and are full of 
interesting materials. The writer of the pres- 
ent biography has had no thought of super- 
seding the important work of Mr. Wells, which 
must be consulted by all who desire a minute 
knowledge of Mr. Adams's character and career. 
The volumes of Mr. Wells have an especial 
value on account of the large number of ex- 
tracts from the writings of Samuel Adams 
which they contain. To some extent the cita- 
tions in the present work have been taken from 
these ; in great part, however, they have been 
selected from old legislative reports and news- 
papers, and also from unprinted records, drafts, 
and letters. The filial piety of Mr. Wells is 
much too exemplary ; the career of his ancestor 
throughout he regards with an admiration quite 
too indiscriminate. Nor is his tone as regards 
the unfortunate men, against whom Samuel 


Adams fought his battle, that which candid 
historians of the Revolution will hereafter em- 
ploy. The present book aims to give, in smaller 
compass, what is most important in Mr. Adams's 
career, and to estimate more fairly his charac- 
ter and that of his opponents. 

ST. Louis, March 24, 1885. 


























LEXINGTON . . 313 








INDEX . . 433 



THE Folk-mote, the fixed, frequent, accessi- 
ble meeting of the individual freemen for dis- 
cussing and deciding upon public matters, had 
great importance in the polity of the primeval 
Teutons, and was transmitted by them to their 
English descendants. All thoughtful political 
writers have held it to be one of the best 
schools for forming the faculties of men ; it 
must underlie every representative system in 
order to make that system properly effective. 
The ancient folk-mote, the proper primordial 
cell of every Anglo-Saxon body-politic, which 
the carelessness of the people and the encroach- 
ments of princes had caused to be much over- 
laid in England, reappeared with great vitality 
in the New England town-meeting. 1 

1 Tacitus, Germania, xi. Waitz, Deutsche Verfassungsge- 
tchichte, Band i. 4. Freeman, Growth of English Constitution, 


At the Revolution, in Massachusetts, then in- 
cluding Maine, and containing 210,000 white 
inhabitants, more than were found in any other 
American colony, there were more than two 
hundred towns, whose constitution is thus de- 
scribed by Gordon, a writer of the period : 

"Every town is an incorporated republic. The 
selectmen, by their own authority, or upon the appli. 
cation of a certain number of townsmen, issue a war- 
rant for the calling of a town-meeting. The warrant 
mentions the business to be engaged in, and no other 
can be legally executed. The inhabitants are warned 
to attend ; and they that are present, though not a 
quarter or tenth of the whole, have a right to pro- 
ceed. They choose a president by the name of mod- 
erator, who regulates the proceedings of the meeting. 
Each individual has an equal liberty of delivering nis 
opinion, and is not liable to be silenced or brow- 
beaten by a richer or greater townsman than himself. 
Every freeman or freeholder gives his vote or not, 
and for or against, as he pleases ; and each vote 
weighs equally, whether that of the highest or lowest 
inhabitant. . . . All the New England towns are on 
the same plan in general." 

p. 17. May, Constitutional History of England, ii. 460. Phil- 
lips, Geschichte des Angdsdchsischen Rechts, p. 12. J. Toulmin 
Smith, Local Self- Government and Centralization, p. 29, etc. 
Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies. E. A. Freeman, Introd. to Am. 
Institut. Hist. H. B. Adams, Germanic Origin of N. E. Towns. 
Edward Channing, Town and County Government in the Eng~ 
lish Colonies of N. A. 


Throughout the thirteen colonies, the folk- 
mote existed in well-developed form only in the 
New England town-meeting ; few traces of it 
can be found in the South ; nor in the middle 
colonies was the case much different. At the 
time of the Revolution, New England stood 
alone in having restored a primitive liberty 
which had been superseded, each of her little 
democracies governing itself after a fashion for 
which there was no precedent without going 
back to the folk-mote of a remote day to a 
time before the kings of England began to be 
arbitrary, and before the people became in- 
different to their birth-right. 

The New England town is best presented at 
a point when it has had time to become fully 
developed, and before the causes have begun to 
operate which in our day have largely changed 
it. The period of the Revolution, in fact, is 
the epoch that must be selected ; and the town 
of towns, in which everything that is most dis- 
tinctive appears most plainly, is Boston. 

Boston was a town governed by its folk- 
mote almost from its foundation until 1822, 
more than one hundred and eighty years. In 
1822, when the inhabitants numbered forty 
thousand, it reluctantly became a city, giving 
up its town-meetings because they had grown 
so large as to be unmanageable, the people 


thereafter choosing a mayor and common coun- 
cil to do the public business for them, instead of 
doing it themselves. The records of the town 
of Boston, carefully preserved from the earliest 
times, lie open to public inspection in the office 
of the city clerk. Whoever pores over these 
records, on the yellow paper, in the faded ink, 
as it came from the pens of the ancient town 
clerks, will find that for the first hundred years 
the freemen are occupied for the most part 
with their local concerns. How the famous 
cowpaths pass through the phases of their evo- 
lution, footway, country-lane, high-road, 
until at length they become the streets and re- 
ceive dignified names ; what ground shall be 
taken for burying-places, and how it shall be 
fenced, as the little settlement gradually covers 
the whole peninsula ; how the Neck, then a very 
consumptive looking neck, not goitred by a ward 
or two of brick and mortar-covered territory, 
may be protected, so that it may not be guillo- 
tined by some sharp north-easter ; what pre- 
cautions shall be taken against the spread of 
small-pox ; who shall see to it that dirt shall 
not be thrown into the town dock ; that inquiry 
shall be made whether Latin may not be better 
taught in the public schools, such topics as 
these are considered. For the most part, the 
record is tedious and unimportant detail for a 


modern reader, though now and then in an ad- 
dress to the sovereign, or a document which 
implies that all is not harmony between the 
town and the royal governor, the horizon broad- 
ens a little. But soon after the middle of the 
eighteenth century the record largely changes. 
William Cooper at length begins his service 
of forty-nine years as town clerk, starting out 
in 1761 with a bold, round hand, which gradu- 
ally becomes faint and tremulous as the writer 
descends into old age. One may well turn over 
the musty pages here with no slight feeling of 
awe, for it is the record, made at the moment, 
of one of the most memorable struggles of hu- 
man history, that between the little town of 
Boston on the one hand, and George III. with 
all the power of England at his back, on the 

At the date of the Stamp Act, 1765, the pop- 
ulation of Boston was not far from 18,000, in 
vast majority of English blood ; though a few 
families of Huguenots, like the Faneuils, the 
Bowdoins, the Reveres, and the Molineux, had 
strengthened the stock by being crossed with 
it, and there was now and then a Scotchman 
or an Irishman. As the Bostonians were of 
one race, so in vast majority they were of one 
faith, Independents of Cromwell's type, though 
there were Episcopalians, and a few Quakers 


and Baptists. The town drew its life from 
the sea, to which all its industry was more or 
less closely related. Hundreds of men were 
afloat much of the time, captains or before the 
mast, leaving their wives and children in the 
town, but themselves being on shore only in the 
intervals between the most enterprising voy- 
ages. Of the landsmen, a large proportion were 
ship-builders. The staunchest crafts that sailed 
slid by the dozen down the ways of the Boston 
yards. New England needed a great fleet, hav- 
ing, as she did, a good part of the carrying-trade 
of the thirteen colonies, with that of the West 
Indies also. Another industry, less salutary, 
was the distilling of rum ; and much of this 
went in the ships of Boston and Newport men 
to the coast of Africa, to be exchanged for 
slaves. It was a different world from ours, 
and should be judged by different standards. 
Besides the branches mentioned, there was lit- 
tle manufacturing in town or country ; the pol- 
icy of the mother country was to discourage 
colonial manufactures ; everything must be 
made in England, the colonies being chiefly 
valuable from the selfish consideration that 
they could be made to afford a profitable mar- 
ket for the goods. In the interior, therefore, 
the people were all farmers, bringing their 
produce to Boston, and taking thence, when 


they went home, such English goods as they 
needed. Hence the town was a great mart. 
The merchants were numerous and rich ; the 
distilleries fumed ; the ship-yards rattled ; the 
busy ships went in and out ; and the country 
people flocked in to the centre. 

Though Boston lost before the Revolution 
the distinction of being the largest town in 
America, it remained the intellectual head of 
the country. Its common schools gave every 
child a good education, and Harvard College, 
scarcely out of sight, and practically a Boston 
institution, gave a training hardly inferior to 
that of European universities of the day. At 
the bottom of the social scale were the negro 
slaves. The newspapers have many advertise- 
ments of slaves for sale, and of runaways 
sought by their masters. Slavery, however, 
was far on the wane, and soon after the Revolu- 
tion became extinguished. The negroes were 
for the most part servants in families, not work- 
men at trades, and so exercised little influence 
in the way of bringing labor into disrepute. 

As the slaves were at the bottom, so at the 
top of society were the ministers, men often of 
fine force, ability, and education. No other 
such career as the ministry afforded was open 
in those days to ambitious men. Year by year 
the best men of each Cambridge class went into 


the ministry, and the best of them were sifted 
out for the Boston pulpit. Jonathan May- 
hew, Andrew Eliot, Samuel Cooper, Charles 
Chauncey, Mather Byles, all were characters 
of mark, true to the Puritan standards, gen- 
erally, as regards faith, eloquent in their office, 
friends and advisers of the political leaders, 
themselves often political leaders, foremost in 
the public meetings, and active in private. 

Together with the ministers, the merchants 
were a class of influence. Nothing could be 
bolder than the spirit in those days of Bos- 
ton commerce. In ships built at the yards of 
the town, the Yankee crews went everywhere 
through the world. Timber, tobacco, tar, rice, 
from the Southern colonies, wheat from Mary- 
land, sugar and molasses from the West Indies, 
sought the markets of the world in New Eng- 
land craft. The laws of trade were compli- 
cated and oppressive ; but every skipper was 
more or less a smuggler, and knew well how to 
brave or evade authority. Wealth flowed fast 
into the pockets of the Boston merchants, who 
built and furnished fine mansions, walked King 
Street in gold lace and fine ruffles, and sat at 
home, as John Hancock is described, in " a red 
velvet cap, within which was one of fine linen, 
the edge of this turned up over the velvet one 
two or three inches. He wore a blue damask 


gown lined with silk, a white plaited stock, a 
white silk embroidered waistcoat, black silk 
small-clothes, white silk stockings, and red mo- 
rocco slippers." It is all still made real to us 
in the superb portraits of Copley, the mer- 
chants sitting in their carved chairs, while a 
chart of distant seas unrolled on the table, or 
a glimpse through a richly curtained window in 
the background at a busy wharf or a craft un- 
der full sail, hints at the employment that has 
lifted the men to wealth and consequence. 

Below the merchants, the class of workmen 
formed a body most energetic. Dealing with 
the tough oak that was to be shaped into storm- 
defying hulls, twisting the cordage that must 
stand the strain of arctic ice and tropic hur- 
ricane, forging anchors that must hold off the 
lee-shores of all tempestuous seas, this was 
work to bring out vigor of muscle, and also of 
mind and temper. The caulkers were bold pol- 
iticians. The rope-walk hands were energetic 
to turbulence, courting the brawls with the 
soldiers which led to the " Boston massacre." 
It must be said, too, that the taverns throve. 
New England rum was very plentiful, the cargo 
of many a ship that passed the " Boston Light," 
of many a townsman and " high private " who 
came to harsh words, and, perhaps, fisticuffs, in 
Pudding Lane or Dock Square. The prevailing 


tone of the town, however, was decent and 
grave. The churches were thronged on Sun- 
days and at Thursday lecture, as they have not 
been since. All classes were readers ; the book- 
sellers fill whole columns in the newspapers 
with their lists ; the best books then in being 
in all departments of literature are on sale and 
in the circulating libraries. The five news- 
papers the people may be said to have edited 
themselves. Instead of the impersonal articles 
of a modern journal, the space in a sheet of the 
" Revolution," after the news and advertise- 
ments, was occupied by letters, in which " A 
Chatterer," " A. Z.," or more often some classic 
character, "Sagittarius," "Vindex," " Philan- 
throp," "Valerius Poplicola," " Nov-Anglus," 
or " Massachusettensis," belabors Whig or 
Tory, according to his own stripe of politics, 
the champion sometimes appearing in a rather 
Chinese fashion, stilted up on high rhetorical 
soles, and padded out with pompous period and 
excessive classic allusion, but often direct, bold, 
and well-armed from the arsenals of the best 
political thinkers. 

Of course the folk-mote of such a town as 
this would have spirit and interest. Wrote a 
Tory in those days : l " The town-meeting at 

1 Sagittarius, quoted by Frothingham : " The Sam Adams's 
Regiments," Atlantic Monthly, November, 1863. 


Boston is the hot-bed of sedition. It is there 
that all their dangerous insurrections are en- 
gendered ; it is there that the flame of discord 
and rebellion was first lighted up and dissemi- 
nated over the provinces ; it is therefore greatly 
to be wished that Parliament may rescue the 
loyal inhabitants of that town and province 
from the merciless hand of an ignorant mob, 
led on and inflamed by self-interested and prof- 
ligate men." Have more interesting assem- 
blies ever taken place in the history of the 
world than the Boston town-meetings ? Out 
of them grew the independence of the United 
States, and what more important event has 
ever occurred? 

Massachusetts was unquestionably the leader 
in the Revolution. 1 After the first year of war, 

1 On this point, which local pride might dispute, a few au' 
thorities may be cited. Englishmen at the time felt as fol- 
lows : " In all the late American disturbances and in every 
thought against the authority of the British Parliament, the 
people of Massachusetts Bay have taken the lead. Every 
new move towards independence has been theirs ; and in every 
fresh mode of resistance against the law they have first set 
the example, and then issued out admonitory letters to the 
other colonies to follow it." Mauduit's Short View of the Hist, 
of the N. E. Colonies, p. 5. See also Anburey's Travels, i. 310. 
Hutchinson, Hist, of Mass. Bay, iii. 257. Rivington, Inde- 
pendence the Object of Congress in America, London, 1776, p. 
15. Lord Camden called Massachusetts " The ring-leading 
Colony." Coming to writers of our own time, Lecky declares, 
Hist. ofXVIIIth Century, iii. 386: " The Central and South- 


indeed, the soil of New England, as compared 
with the Centre and South, suffered little from 
the scourge of hostile military occupation. 
Her sacrifices, however, did not cease. There 
is no way of determining how many New Eng- 
land militia took the field during the strife , 
the multitude was certainly vast. The figures, 
however, as regards the more regular levies, 
have been preserved and are significant. With 
a population comprising scarcely more than one 
third of the inhabitants of the thirteen colonies, 
New England furnished 118,251 of the 231,791 
Continental troops that figured in the war. 
Massachusetts alone furnished 67,907, more 
than one quarter of the entire number. As re- 
gards the giving of money and supplies, without 
doubt her proportion was as large. There re- 
sistance to British encroachment began ; thence 
disaffection to Britain was spread abroad. 

ern Colonies long hesitated to follow New England. Massa- 
chusetts had thrown herself with fierce energy into the con- 
flict, and soon drew the other provinces in her wake." Says 
J. R. Seeley, Expansion of England, pp. 154, 155 : " The spirit 
driving the colonies to separation from England, a principle 
attracting and conglobing them into a new union among them- 
selves, how early did this spirit show itself in the New Eng- 
land colonies ! It was not present in all the colonies. It 
was not present in Virginia; but when the colonial discon- 
tents burst into a flame, then was the moment when Virginia 
went over to New England, and the spirit of the Pilgrim 
Fathers found the power to turn the offended colonists into a 
new nation." 


As Massachusetts led the thirteen colonies, 
the town of Boston led Massachusetts. " This 
Province began it," wrote General Gage, 1 "I 
might say this town, for here the arch-rebels 
formed their scheme long ago." The ministers 
of George III. recognized this leadership aud 
attacked Boston first. So thoroughly did the 
forces of revolt centre here that the English 
pamphleteers, seeking to uphold the govern- 
ment cause, speak sometimes not so much of 
Americans, or New Englanders, or indeed men 
of Massachusetts, as of " Bostoneers," as if it 
were with the people of that one little town 
that the fight was to be waged. Even in the 
woods and wilds the preeminence was known. 
When Major George Rogers Clark was sub- 
duing the Mississippi valley, he found that 
the British emissaries, rousing the Indians and 
simple French habitans against him by using 
the terms they could best understand, had urged 
them "to fight Boston." Boston led the thir- 
teen colonies. Who led the town of Boston? 
He certainly ought to be a memorable figure. 
He it is whose story this book is designed to 

The progenitor in America of the Adams 
family, so numerous and famous, was Henry 

1 To Lord Dartmouth ; quoted in Diary and Letters of 
Thomas Hutchinson, p. 16. 


Adams, who, with a family of eight children, 
settled at an early period near Mount Wollas- 
ton in Quincy. The inscription on his tomb- 
stone, written by President John Adams, de- 
scribes him as having come from Devonshire, 
in England. English families of the name trace 
their descent from a remote Welsh ancestor ; 
there is a possibility, therefore, of a mixture of 
Celtic blood in the stock. Grandsons of the 
emigrant Henry Adams were Joseph Adams, 
a citizen of Braintree, and John Adams, a sea- 
captain. The former was grandfather of Pres- 
ident John Adams ; the latter was grandfather 
of Samuel Adams, the subject of this memoir. 
The second son of Captain John Adams was 
Samuel Adams, born May 6, 1689, in Boston, 
where he always lived, and where he was mar- 
ried at the age of twenty-four to Mary Fifield. 
From this union proceeded a family of twelve 
children, three only of whom survived their 
father. Of these the illustrious Samuel Adams 
was born September 16, O. S., 1722. 

The theory that great men derive their pow- 
ers from their mothers rather than their fathers 
may, perhaps, be regarded as exploded. It will 
receive no support, at least, from the case of 
Samuel Adams. Of his mother no mention can 
be found except that she was rigidly pious after 
the puritan standards ; his father, however, 



was a man of most noteworthy qualities, and 
filled a large place in the community in which 
his lot was cast. He was possessed, at first, of 
what for those days was a large property, and 
in 1712 bought a handsome estate in Purchase 
Street, extending two hundred and fifty-eight 
feet along the thoroughfare and running thence 
to the low water line of the harbor. The man- 
sion, large and substantial, fronted the water, 
of which it commanded a fine view. Samuel 
Adams, senior, early made impression, passing 
soon from a purely private station into various 
public positions. He became justice of the 
peace, deacon of the Old South Church, then 
an office of dignity, selectman, one of the im- 
portant committee of the town to instruct the 
representatives to the Assembly, and at length 
entered the Assembly itself. His son called 
him " a wise man and a good man." He was 
everywhere a leader. In 1715, largely through 
his influence, the ." New South " religious soci- 
ety was established in Summer Street. About 
the year 1724, with a score or so of others, gen- 
erally from the North End, where the ship- 
yards especially lay, he was prominent in a club 
designed " to lay plans for introducing certain 
persons into places of trust and power." It 
was known as the " Caulkers' Club," hence, 
possibly, one of the best known terms in politi- 


cal nomenclature. As a representative he sig- 
nalized himself by opposition to that combative 
old veteran from the wars of Marlborough, 
Shute, in whose incumbency the chronic quar- 
rel between governor and legislature grew very 
sharp. The tastes and abilities, indeed, which 
made the son afterwards so famous, are also 
plain in the father, only appearing in the son 
in a more marked degree and in a time more 
favorable for their exhibition. 

" Sam " Adams (to his contemporaries it was 
affectation quite superfluous to go beyond the 
monosyllable in giving his Christian name) 
has left but few traces of his boyhood. There 
is a story that as he went back and forth be- 
tween home and the wooden school-house in 
School Street, just in the rear of King's Chapel, 
his punctuality was so invariable that the la- 
borers regulated their hours of work by him. 
One is glad to believe that this tale of virtue 
BO portentous has no good foundation. Un- 
doubtedly, however, he was a staid, prema- 
turely intelligent boy, responding to the severe 
Puritan influences which surrounded him, and 
early developed through listening to the talk 
of the strong men of the town, for whom his 
father's house was a favorite meeting-place. 
Of his college life, too, there is almost no men- 
tion. He was a close student and always after- 


ward fond of quoting Greek and Latin. His 
father's earnest wish was that he should study 
theology. Whitefield, as Sam Adams came 
forward into life, was quickening wonderfully 
the zeal of New England. Tt would have been 
natural for the parents and the sober-minded 
son to feel a warmth from so powerful a torch. 
A minister, however, he could not be. He re- 
ceived the degree of A. B. in 1740, and when 
three years after he became Master of Arts, 
the thesis which he presented showed plainly 
what was his true bent. " Whether it be Law- 
ful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the 
Commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved," 
was his subject, which he proceeded to discuss 
in the presence, not only of the college dignita- 
ries, but of the new governor, Shirley, and the 
Crown officials, who sat in state near the young 
speakers at Commencement, as do their suc- 
cessors to-day. What he said and what effect 
he produced is not recorded. No one knew 
that as the young man spoke, then, for the 
first time, one of the great Revolutionary group 
was asserting the right of resistance by the 
people to arbitrary oppressors. Shirley was 
perhaps lost in some far - away dream of how 
he might get at the French ; and when thirty 
years after, in his retirement at Dorchester, 
ue asked who the Sam Adams could be that 



was such a thorn in the side to his successors 
Bernard and Hutchinson, he was quite uncon- 
scious of the fact that he himself had had the 
benefit, close at hand, of the first scratch. 

In the Harvard quinquennial, where the 
names in the provincial period are arranged 
not alphabetically, but according to the conse- 
quence of the families to which the students 
belong, Sam Adams stands fifth in a class of 
twenty-two. As he reached his majority his 
father became embarrassed, and while misfor- 
tune impended, Sam Adams, whose disinclina- 
tion to theology had become plain, began the 
study of law. This his mother is said to have 
disapproved; law in those days was hardly 
recognized as a profession, and the young man 
turned to mercantile life as a calling substantial 
and respectable. He entered the counting- 
house of Thomas Gushing, a prominent mer- 
chant, with whose son of the same name he 
was destined afterwards to be closely connected 
through many years of public service. For 
business, however, he had neither taste nor 
tact. The competition of trade was repulsive 
to him ; his desire for gain was of the slightest. 
Leaving Mr. Gushing after a few months, he 
received from his father XI, 000 with which to 
begin business for himself. Half of this he 
lent to a friend who never repaid it, and the 


other half he soon lost in his own operations. 
Thriftless though he seemed, he began to be 
regarded as not unpromising, for there were 
certain directions in which his mind was won- 
derfully active. Father and son became part- 
ners in a malt-house situated on the estate in 
Purchase Street, and one can well understand 
how business must have suffered in the circum- 
stances in which they were presently placed. 

The times became wonderfully stirring. In 
1745 Sir William Pepperell led his New Eng- 
land army to the capture of Louisburg. Bos- 
ton was at first absorbed in the great prepara- 
tions ; while the siege proceeded the town was 
in a fever of anxiety, as it had good cause to 
be ; for brave though they were, whoever reads 
the story must feel that only the most extraor- 
dinary good luck could have brought the pro- 
vincials through. When the victory was at 
length complete, and the iron cross from the 
market-place was brought home by the soldiers 
in token of triumph, never was joy more tu- 
multuous. In all this time Samuel Adams, 
senior, was in the forefront of public affairs. 
He sat in the Assembly, and was proposed by 
that body for the Council or upper house, but 
was rejected by Shirley. He was a member of 
most of the military committees, in that day 
the most important of the legislature ; there 


are facts showing that his judgment was espe- 
cially deferred to in affairs of that kind. 

Encouraged by the success at Cape Breton, 
the colonists planned still further enterprises 
against the French, in all which Massachusetts, 
stimulated by Shirley, who had the heart and 
the head of a soldier, took part with enthusiasm. 
When in 1748 the magnificent fruits of New 
England energy were all resigned at the peace 
of Aix la Chapelle, a deep resentment was felt. 

In matters relating to peace and war the 
elder Adams was much concerned. The son 
meantime, trusting himself more and more to 
the element for which he was born, figured 
prominently in the clubs and wrote copiously 
for the newspapers. One can easily see how 
business must have been carried on with some 
slackness, since the two partners were marked 
by such characteristics. 

In 1748 Samuel Adams, senior, died, bequeath- 
ing to the younger Samuel a third of his estate, 
his sister and his brother (who is mentioned 
about this time in the town records as clerk of 
the market) receiving their shares. In 1749 
he married Elizabeth Checkley, daughter of 
the minister of the " New South," established 
himself in Purchase Street, and gave himself, 
with a mind by no means undivided, to the 
management of the malt-house. 



LEAVING u Sam, the Maltster," to wait 
through the years that must intervene before 
the hour shall really strike for him, a survey 
must be made of the institutions into the midst 
of which he was born, and of the momentous 
dispute in which he was presently to stand forth 
as a figure of the first importance. 

According to the original charter, which was 
that of a mere trading corporation, vaguely 
drawn, and which was converted without color 
of law into the foundation of an independent 
state, the affairs of Massachusetts were to be 
managed by a governor, deputy-governor, and 
eighteen assistants, who were to hold monthly 
meetings for that purpose. These officials were 
to be elected, and a general oversight to be ex- 
ercised, by the stockholders of the company to 
whom the charter was granted. The colonists 
were " to enjoy the rights of Englishmen," but 
had no share in the direction of affairs. The 
company was transferred, however, very soon, 


to New England, and the settlement, instead of 
being subject to stockholders across the water, 
became then self - governed, an arrangement 
quite different from that at first contemplated. 

For the first half century, through a provi- 
sion of the General Court enacted in 1631, no 
man was to become a freeman unless he were 
a church member. Since not a fourth part of 
the adult population were ever church mem- 
bers, the democracy had many of the features 
of an oligarchy. Among themselves the free- 
men cherished a spirit strongly democratic ; but 
towards those outside, the spiritual aristocracy 
preserved a haughty bearing. 

At the end of fifty years, beneath Charles II. 
and James II., came a crisis. When at length 
in 1692 Sir William Phips, a rough and en- 
terprising son of the colony, appeared as gov- 
ernor, he brought with him a document which 
was far from pleasing to the people, who had 
hoped from the protestant champion, William 
III., a restoration of the old institutions. High 
notions of his prerogative, however, were enter- 
tained by the new king, and were not opposed 
by even the wisest among his advisers. Mas- 
sachusetts, Plymouth, and Maine were compre- 
hended under one jurisdiction, New Hampshire 
being left independent. The old freedom of 
Massachusetts was to a large extent suspended. 


The theocracy, too, was abolished ; toleration 
was secured to all religious sects except pa- 
pists; and the right of suffrage, once limited to 
church members, was bestowed on all inhabit- 
ants possessing a freehold of the annual value 
of forty shillings, or personal property to the 
amount of <40. The appointment of the gov- 
ernor, lieutenant-governor, and colonial secre- 
tary was reserved to the king. The governor 
possessed the power of summoning, adjourning, 
and dissolving the General Court, and a nega- 
tive upon all its acts. He was dependent upon 
it, however, for his salary by annual grant. 
Two boards, as before, were to constitute the 
legislature or General Court, a Council and 
House of Representatives. The members of 
the latter body were to be chosen annually by 
the towns, and had the important power of the 
purse. The Council was to consist of twenty- 
eight members, who in the first instance were 
to be appointed by the king. Afterwards, a 
new Council for each year was to be chosen by 
joint ballot of the old Council and the Repre- 
sentatives, the power being given to the gov- 
ernor of rejecting thirteen out of the twenty- 
eight. To all official acts the concurrence of 
the Council was necessary, and to the king was 
reserved the power of annulling any act within 
three years of its passage. 


To turn to judicial institutions : at the head 
stood a Superior Court, presided over by a 
chief justice and subordinate judges. These 
were appointed by the governor in Council ; 
so, too, were inferior magistrates, as justices of 
the peace in each county. In course of time, 
the regular number of judges in the Superior 
Court came to be five, and to it was assigned 
all the jurisdiction of the English Common 
Pleas, King's Bench, and Exchequer. There 
were also county courts of Common Pleas for 
smaller civil cases, Courts of Sessions, com- 
posed of justices of the peace in each county, 
for inferior criminal cases, and Courts of Pro- 
bate for settling the estates of persons deceased. 
An attorney-general was appointed to conduct 
public prosecutions. From 1697 Courts of Vice- 
Admiralty existed, empowered to try without 
jury all maritime and revenue cases ; but these 
tribunals were from the first strenuously op- 
posed. From 1698 a Court of Chancery also 
existed. The governor was commander-in-chief 
of the militia, whose officers he was also em- 
powered to appoint. In 1728 the charter of 
William and Mary was amended, after earnest 
disputes between Governor Shute and the As- 
sembly (the lower house of the legislature), by 
a clause giving the governor power to negative 
the speaker chosen by the Assembly ; and also 


by a clause making it impossible for the house 
to adjourn, by its own vote, for a longer term 
than two days. 

With these representative and judicial insti- 
tutions, which require from the reader careful 
attention, concerned as he will be in our story 
with a variety of constitutional disputes, Mas- 
sachusetts, absorbing Plymouth and Maine, 
passed from her colonial into her provincial 
period. Though greatly restricted in her in- 
dependence, the new order was really in some 
respects a vast improvement upon the old. 
Through the canceling of the condition of 
church membership, citizenship became prac- 
tically open to all ; for the pecuniary qualifica- 
tion was so small as to embarrass very few. 
Though the legislature was cramped, the town- 
meetings were unrestrained, and through the 
enlargement of the franchise gained a power 
and interest which they had not before pos- 

The prevailing tone of American writers, 
who, as historians or biographers, have treated 
the Revolutionary struggle, has been that the 
case against the British government was a per- 
fectly plain one, that its conduct was aggres- 
sion in no way to be justified or palliated, and 
as blundering as it was wicked. An illustrious 


Englishman, E. A. Freeman, however, has just 
written : " In the War of Independence there 
is really nothing of which either side need be 
ashamed. Each side acted as it was natural 
for each side to act. We can now see that both 
King George and the British nation were quite 
wrong ; but for them to have acted otherwise 
than they did would have needed a superhu- 
man measure of wisdom, which few kings and 
few nations ever had." 

Our Fourth of July orators may well assume 
a tone somewhat less confident, when thought- 
ful men in England, not at all ill-disposed to- 
ward America, and not at all blind to the 
blunders and crimes which strew the course of 
English history, pass even now, after a hun- 
dred years, such a judgment as this which has 
been quoted. A candid American student, ad- 
mire as he may the wisdom and virtue of our 
Revolutionary fathers, is compelled to admit, 
in this calmer time, that it was by 110 means 
plain sailing for King George and his minis- 
ters, and that they deserve something better 
from us than the unsparing obloquy which for 
the most part they have received. 

The love of the colonists toward England 
had become estranged in other ways than by 
" taxation without representation." In Mas- 
sachusetts, the destruction of the theocracy 

through the new charter was a severe shock 


to puritan feeling. The enforced toleration of 
all sects but papists was a constant source of 
wrath ; and when, as the eighteenth century 
advanced, the possibility of the introduction of 
bishops and a church establishment appeared, 
a matter which was most persistently and un- 
wisely urged, 1 there was deep-seated resentment. 
But another stone of offense, which, unlike 
the fear of prelacy, affected all America as well 
as New England, and was therefore very im- 
portant, existed in the trade regulations. By 
the revolution of 1688, the royal power in 
England was restrained, but that of Parlia- 
ment and the mercantile and manufacturing 
classes greatly increased. The " Board of 
Trade " was then constituted, to whom were 
committed the interests of commerce and a 
general oversight of the colonies. Adam Smith 
was still in the far future, and the policy con- 
stantly pursued was neither humane nor wise. 
We may judge of the temper of the Board from 
the fact that even John Locke, its wisest and 
one of its most influential members, solemnly 
advised William to appoint a captain-general 

1 Grahame, Hist, of U. S M iv. 317. As far as New England was 
concerned this fear of ecclesiasticism was as potent a source of 
estrangement as any. Some writers regard it as the principal 
cause of bad feeling. See John Adams, the Statesman of the Rev- 
olution, by Hon. Mellon Chamberlain. Boston, 1884. 


over the colonies with dictatorial power, and 
the whole Board recommended, in 1701, a re- 
sumption of the colonial charters and the in- 
troduction ,of such " an administration of gov- 
ernment as shall make them duly subservient 
to England." The welfare of the colonies was 
systematically sacrificed to the aggrandizement 
of the gains of English manufacturers and 
merchants. Sometimes the provisions turned 
out to the advantage of the colonists, but more 
frequently there was oppression without any 
compensating good. 

Restrictions, designed for securing to the 
mother-country a monopoly of the colonial 
trade, crushed out every industry that could 
compete with those of England. For such 
products as they were permitted to raise, the 
colonies had no lawful market but England, jior 
could they buy anywhere, except in England, 
the most important articles which they needed. 
With the French West India islands a most 
profitable intercourse had sprung up, the colo- 
nists shipping thither lumber and provisions, 
and receiving in return sugar and molasses, the 
consumption of which latter article, in the wide- 
spread manufacture of rum, was very large. In 
1733 was passed the famous " Sugar Act," the 
design of which was to help the British West 
Indies at the expense of the northern colonies, 


and by which all the trade with the French 
islands became unlawful, so that no legitimate 
source of supply remained open but the far less 
convenient English islands. The restrictions, 
indeed, were not and could not be enforced. 
Every sailor was a smuggler ; every colonist 
knew more or less of illicit traffic or industry. 
The demoralization came to pass which always 
results when a community, even with good rea- 
son, is full of law-breakers, and the disposition 
became constantly more and more unfriendly 
toward the mother country. Said Arthur 
Young : " Nothing can be more idle than to 
say that this set of men, or the other adminis- 
tration, or that great minister, occasioned the 
American war. It was not the Stamp Act, nor 
the repeal of the Stamp Act ; it was neither 
Lord Rockingham nor Lord North, but it 
was that baleful spirit of commerce that wished 
to govern great nations on the maxims of the 

The Board of Trade, however, the main 
source of the long series of acts by which the 
English dependencies were systematically re- 
pressed, should receive execration not too se- 
vere. They simply were not in advance of 
their age. When, after 1688, the commercial 
spirit gained an ascendency quite new in Eng- 
land, the colonists, far off, little known, and de- 


spised, were pitched upon as fair game, if they 
could be made to yield advantage. In so using 
them, the men in power were only showing 
what has so often passed as patriotism, that 
mere expansion of selfishness, inconsistent with 
any broad Christian sentiment, which seeks 
wealth and might for the state at the expense 
of the world outside. It was inhumanity from 
which the world is rising, it may be hoped, 
for which it would be wrong to blame those 
men of the past too harshly. The injustice, 
however, as always, brought its penalty ; and 
in this case the penalty was the utter estrange- 
ment of the hearts of a million of Englishmen 
from the land they had once loved, and the 
ultimate loss of a continent. 

Before the Massachusetts settlement, it had 
been stipulated in the charter that all the colo- 
nists were to have the rights and privileges of 
Englishmen, and this provision they often cited. 
Magna Charta was but a confirmation of what 
had stood in and before the time of Edward 
the Confessor, the primitive freedom, indeed, 
which had prevailed in the German woods. 
This had been again and again re-confirmed. 
Documents of Edward I. and Edward III., the 
Petition of Right of 1628, the Bill of Rights of 
1689, had given such re-confirmations ; and the 
descendants of the twenty thousand Puritans, 


who, coming over between 1620 and 1640, had 
been the seed from which sprung the race of 
New Englanders, knew these things in a gen- 
eral way. They were to the full as intelligent 
in perceiving what were the rights of English- 
men, and as tenacious in upholding them, as 
any class that had remained in the old home. 
Left to themselves for sixty years, there was 
little need of an assertion of rights ; but when 
at last interference began from across the wa- 
ter, it was met at the outset by protest. Par- 
liament is a thousand leagues of stormy sea 
away from us, said they. That body cannot 
judge us well ; most of all, our representatives 
have no place in it. We owe allegiance to the 
king indeed, but instead of Parliament, our 
General Court shall tax and make laws for us. 
Such claims, often asserted, though overruled, 
were not laid aside, and at length in 1766 we 
find Franklin asserting them as the opinion of 
America at the bar of the House of Commons. 
It cannot, however, be said that New Eng- 
land was consistent here. In 1757, for in- 
stance, the authority of Parliament was dis- 
tinctly admitted by the General Court of Mas- 
sachusetts ; so too in 1761 ; and even so late as 
1768, it is admitted " that his Majesty's high 
court of Parliament is the supreme legislative 
power over the whole empire." 


The sum and substance is that as to the con- 
stitutional rights of the colonists, the limits 
were, in particulars, quite undetermined, both in 
the minds of English statesmen, and also among 
the colonists themselves. What " the privi- 
leges and rights of Englishmen " were was not 
always clearly outlined, and the student finds 
sometimes more, sometimes less, insisted on, 
according as the temper toward the old world 
fe embittered, or good-natured. As events 
progress, through fear of prelatical contrivings 
and through bad trade regulations, as has been 
seen, the tone becomes more and more exasper- 
ated. On the one side the spirit becomes con- 
stantly more independent ; on the other side, 
the claims take on a new shade of arrogance. 
When the first decided steps toward the Rev- 
olution occur in 1764, in the agitations con- 
nected with the Stamp Act, the positions in 
general of the parties in the dispute may be 
set down as follows : " Parliament asserted the 
right to make laws to bind the colonies in all 
cases whatsoever ; the colonies claimed that 
there should be no taxation without represen- 
tation, and that, since they had no representa- 
tives in Parliament, they were beyond its juris- 



SAM ADAMS at twenty-eight, with a wife, 
and his inheritance now in his hands through 
the death of his father, had not yet begun to 
play his proper part before the world. The 
eyes of men were beginning to turn toward 
him, indeed, as a man with a head to manage 
a political snarl, and a pen to express thoughts 
that could instruct and kindle. He was still, 
however, the somewhat shiftless manager of 
the Purchase Street malt-house, and the town 
censors no doubt said it would be vastly better 
for him to mind his private business rather 
than dabble as he did in public matters. That 
he was a good student and thinker was shown 
by his contributions to the " Public Adver- 

He was devoted also to the discussions of the 
debating-clubs. As yet the Revolution seemed 
far off. The people of Massachusetts, it has 
been said, were never in a more easy situation 
than at the close of the war with France in 



1749. The whole charge for the expedition 
against Cape Breton was reimbursed to them 
by Parliament, so that the Province was set 
free from a heavy debt, a liberality which of 
course made it easier to swallow the bitter pill 
of restoring Louisburg to the French. With 
his patrimony Samuel Adams had apparently 
inherited his father's friendships and enmities, 
among the latter being a feud with Thomas 
Hutchinson, a man fast rising to the position 
of leading spirit of the Province, already in the 
Council, and destined to fill in turn, sometimes 
indeed to combine at once, the most distin- 
guished positions. Governor Shirley's popu- 
larity vanished before ill success, which over- 
took his later enterprises. He gave way at 
length in 1756 to Thomas Pownall, a man of 
wide experience in colonial life and of much 
tact, so that while maintaining firmly the pre- 
rogative of the king, in the chronic dispute be- 
tween ministry and Assembly, which was never 
long at rest, he contrived still to retain the 
good-will of the people, who did him great 
honor at his departure. Samuel Adams, who 
in Shirley had opposed the union of the civil 
and military powers in one head, was, like his 
fellow-citizens, better pleased with Pownall, a 
good opinion which the ex-governor afterward 
abundantly justified by bravely and intelli- 


gently defending in Parliament the cause of 

In 1758 an incident occurred which attracted 
much public attention. An attempt was then 
made to seize and sell the property of Samuel 
Adams, senior, on account of his connection 
many years before with the " Land Bank 
Scheme," a device perhaps not the wisest, 
which had been resorted to for avoiding great 
loss which threatened the colony in consequence 
of a certain interference of the home govern- 
ment in the finances. At the time it had been 
asserted that each director would be held indi- 
vidually responsible for the liabilities of the 
concern ; but we may well believe that for 
Samuel Adams it was a matter somewhat start- 
ling to read in the " News Letter," ten years 
after his father had been in his grave, and sev- 
enteen years after the affair had taken place, 
a sheriff's notice that the property he had in- 
herited would be sold at auction " for the more 
speedy finishing the Land Bank scheme." * 
The sale did not take place, for when the sher- 
iff appeared he found himself confronted by a 
sturdy citizen, whose resistance he was forced 
to respect. Soon afterward an act was passed 
by the legislature liberating the directors from 
personal liability an act the significance of 

1 Boston News Letter, August 10 and 17, 1758. 


which was not at the time understood, but 
which was often referred to subsequently as a 
memorable precedent, in the strife between the 
colony and Parliament. 

Turning over the Boston town records, as 
the venerable rolls lie in their handsome sur- 
roundings in the great city hall that stands 
on the site of the little wooden school of Sam- 
uel Adams's boyhood, one first finds his name 
in 1753, on the committee to visit schools. 
Scarcely a year passes from that date until 
the town - meetings cease, crushed out by the 
battalions of Gage, when his name does not 
appear in connections becoming constantly 
more honorable. The record, first in the hand 
of Ezekiel Goldthwait, town clerk, and after 
1761 in that of William Cooper, though mea- 
gre, is complete enough to show how intimately 
his life is connected with these meetings of the 
freemen. He serves in offices large and small, 
on committees to see that chimneys are prop- 
erly inspected, as fire-ward, to see that pre- 
cautions are taken against the spread of the 
small-pox, as moderator, on the committee to 
instruct the representatives to the Assembly, as 
representative himself. From 1756 to 1764 he 
was annually elected one of the tax-collectors, 
and in connection with this office came the 
gravest suspicion of a serious moral dereliction 


which his enemies could ever lay to his charge. 
Embarrassments which weighed upon the peo- 
ple caused payments to be slow. The tax-collec- 
tors fell into arrears, and it was at length en- 
tered upon the records that they were indebted 
to the town in the sum of 9,878. The Tories 
persisted afterwards in making this deficiency 
a ground of accusation, and Hutchinson, in the 
third volume of his history, deliberately calls it 
a " defalcation." No candid investigator can 
feel otherwise than that to Samuel Adams's 
contemporaries any misappropriation of funds 
by him was an absurd supposition. Without 
stopping to inquire how it may have been with 
his fellow collectors, it is quite certain that in 
his case a feeling of humanity, very likely an 
absence of business vigor, stood in the way of 
his efficiency in the position. His townsmen 
wanted him for a high office, a sure proof that 
they had lost no confidence in him. A suc- 
cessor was appointed to collect the arrears, the 
Province being asked to authorize the town's 
action. "Neither the historian nor the con- 
temporary records furnish any evidence to re- 
bub the presumption that his ill success as a 
collector was excusable if not unavoidable." 1 
In 1760 the prudent Pownall was succeeded 

1 See Province Laws, p. 27, note, edited by Hon. Ellis Ames 
and A. C. Goodell, Jr., Esq. The latter gentleman has com- 


by Francis Bernard, a character of quite differ- 
ent temper. Botta has described him as a man 
of excellent judgment, sincerely attached to the 
interests of the Province, and of irreproachable 
character. He was a defender of the preroga- 
tive of the Crown, however, ardent in disposi- 
tion, and quite without the pliancy and adroit- 
ness which had served his predecessor so well. 
He had before been governor of New Jersey, 
and now was promoted to the more conspicu- 
ous post in Massachusetts. He had received 
an Oxford education, was a man of refined and 
scholarly tastes, and is said to have been able 
to perform the astonishing feat of repeating the 
whole of Shakespeare from memory. There is 
no reason to doubt the authorities who speak 
well of Bernard, though the portrait that has 
come down to us from the patriot writers is 
dark. Events presently threw governor and 
Province into positions of violent antagonism 
to one another. To the governor the people 
seemed seditious and unreasonable ; to the peo- 
ple the governor appeared arbitrary and irrita- 
ble, and the relation at length became one of 
thorough hatred. At first he was liberally 
treated, however, receiving a grant of 1,300 
for his salary, and the island of Mt. Desert 

pletely cleared the character of Samuel Adams in a paper 
read before the Mass. Histor. Society in the spring of 1883. 


in Maine, favors to which he would have re- 
sponded no doubt graciously if, as an English 
country gentleman, his every nerve had not 
been presently rasped by the preposterous lev- 
elers with whom he was thrown into contact. 

The fall of Quebec in 1759, immediately 
preceding the accession of Bernard, was an im- 
portant crisis in the history of Massachusetts. 
The colonists had learned to estimate their mil- 
itary strength more highly than ever before. 
Side by side with British regulars, they had 
fought against Moiitcalm and proved their 
prowess. Officers qualified by the best ex- 
perience to lead, and soldiers hardened by the 
roughest campaigning into veterans, abounded 
in all the towns. A more independent spirit 
appeared, and this was greatly strengthened 
by the circumstance that the destruction of the 
power of France suddenly put an end to the 
incubus which, from the foundation of things, 
had weighed upon New England, viz., the dread 
of an invasion from the north. Coincident with 
this great in vigor ation of the tone of the Prov- 
ince came certain changes in the English pol- 
icy, changes which came about very naturally, 
but which, in the temper that had begun to 
prevail, aroused fierce resentment. As the 
Seven Years' War drew towards its close, it 
grew plain that England had incurred an enor- 


mous debt. Her responsibilities, moreover, had 
largely increased. All India had fallen into her 
hands as well as French America. At the ex- 
pense of her defeated rival; her dominion was 
immensely expanding ; vast was the glory, but 
vast also the care and the financial burden. A 
faithful, sharp-eyed minister, George Grenville, 
seeing well the needs of the hour, and searching 
as no predecessor had done into the corruptions 
and slacknesses of administration, at once fast- 
ened upon the unenforced revenue laws as a 
field where reform was needed. Industry on 
land, as we have seen, was badly hampered in 
a score of ways, and on the sea the wings of 
commerce were cruelly clipped. 

Grenville's imprudence was as conspicuous 
as his eye was keen and his fidelity persistent. 
As the first step in a series of financial meas- 
ures which should enable England to meet her 
enormous debt and her great expenses, he set 
in operation a vigorous exaction of neglected 
customs and imposts. The vessels of the navy 
on the American coast were commissioned to 
act in the service of the revenue, each officer 
becoming a customs official. At once all con- 
traband trade was subjected to the most ener- 
getic attack, no respect being shown to places 
or persons. In particular, the Sugar Act, by 
which an effort had been made to cut off the 


interchange of American lumber and provisions 
for the sugar and molasses of the French West 
Indies, was strongly enforced, and the New 
England sailors, with the enterprising mer- 
chants of Boston, Newport, Salem, and Ports- 
mouth behind them, flamed out into the fierc- 
est resentment. Whereas for many a year the 
collectors, from their offices on the wharves, 
had winked placidly at the full cargoes from 
St. Domingo and St. Christopher, brought into 
port beneath their very eyes, now all was to 
be changed in a moment. Each sleepy tide- 
waiter suddenly became an Argus, and, backed 
up by a whole fleet full of rough and ready 
helpers, proceeded to put an end to the most 
lucrative trade New England possessed. 

To help forward this new activity in the car- 
rying out of laws so often heretofore a dead 
letter, certain legal forms known as "writs of 
assistance " were recommended, to be granted 
by the Superior Court to the officers of the 
customs, giving them authority to search the 
houses of persons suspected of smuggling. The 
employment of such a power, though contra- 
band goods were often, no doubt, concealed in 
private houses, was regarded as a great out- 
rage. Writs of assistance in England were le- 
gal and usual. If they were ever justifiable, 
as English authorities said then and still say, 


they are justifiable under such circumstances 
as prevailed in America. Stephen Sewall, 
however, chief justice of the Province, when 
applied to for such a writ, in November, 1760, 
just after the fall of Quebec, expressed doubt 
as to their legality, and as to the power of the 
court to grant them. But the application had 
been made on the part of the Crown by Pax- 
ton, the chief officer of customs at Boston, and 
could not be dismissed without a hearing. 
While the matter was pending Sewall died, 
and his successor was none other than Thomas 
Hutchinson, who already held the offices of 
lieutenant-governor, member of the Council, 
and judge of probate. He received his new 
position from Governor Bernard, being pre- 
ferred to Colonel James Otis, to whom the post 
was said to have been promised by Governor 
Shirley, years before. 

Now it is that a figure of the highest im- 
portance in the story of Samuel Adams first 
comes prominently upon the scene. At the ses- 
sions of the court there had lately sat among 
the lawyers, in the tie-wig and black gown 
then customary, a certain "plump, round-faced, 
smooth-skinned, short-necked, eagle-eyed young 
politician," James Otis, the younger, already a 
man of mark, for he held the lucrative position 
of advocate-general, the official legal adviser of 


the government. It was for him now to de- 
fend the case of the officers of the customs. He, 
however, refused, resigned his commission, and 
with Oxenbridge Thacher, a patriotic and elo- 
quent lawyer, was retained by the merchants 
of Boston and Salem to undertake their cause. 
Hutchinson, whose invaluable history relates 
with a certain old-fashioned stiffness but with 
much calm dignity the story of Massachusetts, 
does not forget himself, even when he comes to 
the events in which he himself was an actor. 
His recital maintains its tone of quiet modera- 
tion even when his theme becomes that bitter 
strife, in which, fighting to the last, he was 
himself utterly borne down. It is a disfigure- 
ment of the narrative that he sometimes as- 
cribes mean motives to the champions who 
faced him in the battle ; but the wonder is, 
under the circumstances, that the men with 
whom he so exchanged hate for hate stand 
forth in his page with so little detraction. 
Hutchinson declares the conduct of James Otis, 
in the case of the writs of assistance, to have 
been caused by chagrin, because his father had 
failed to receive the position of chief justice. 
What weight this charge is entitled to will be 
considered hereafter. 

Among the high services rendered by John 
Adams is certainly to be counted the fact that 


in his faithfully kept diary and familiar letters, 
from his youth in Shirley's day down to his 
patriarchal age at Quincy, when his son was 
President of the United States, we have the 
most complete and graphic picture extant of 
America's most memorable period. The record 
is in parts almost as naive as that of Sewall, 
" the New England Pepys," and gains as much 
in value from the foibles of the writer, his self- 
consciousness, his honest irascibility, his nar- 
rowness, as it does from his strong qualities. 
Here is his picture of the case of the writs of 
assistance : 

"Otis was a flame of fire. With a promptitude 
of classical allusions, a depth of research, a rapid 
summary of historical events and dates, a profusion 
of legal authorities, a prophetic glance of his eye into 
futurity, and a torrent of impetuous eloquence, he 
hurried away everything before him. American in- 
dependence was then and there born ; the seeds of 
patriots and heroes were then and there sown, to de- 
fend the vigorous youth, the non sine diis animosus 
infans. Every man of a crowded audience appeared 
to me to go away, as 1 did, ready to take arms against 
writs of assistance. Then and there was the first 
scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary 
claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child 
Independence was born." 

John Adams also took notes of the speech 
of Otis, which have been preserved. It lasted 


between four and five hours and was indeed 
learned, eloquent, and bold. The most signifi- 
cant passage is that in which, after describing 
the hardships endured by the colonies through 
the acts of navigation and trade, with passion- 
ate invective he denounced taxation without 
representation. It was by no means a new 
claim, but the masses of the people caught the 
words from his lips, and henceforth it came to be 
a common maxim in the mouths of all that tax- 
ation without representation is tyranny. Hutch- 
inson continued the case to the next term, " as 
the practice in England is not known," and 
James Otis went forth to be for the next ten 
years the idol of the people. 

John Adams's assertion, that in this magnifi- 
cent outburst American independence was born, 
will scarcely bear examination. The speech 
was not to such an extent epoch-making. Both 
orator and audience were thoroughly loyal and 
had no thought of a contest of arms with the 
mother-country. The principle asserted was 
only a re-avowal of what, as has been seen, had 
been often maintained. The argument was 
simply an incident in the long continued fric- 
tion between parent-land and dependency, not 
differing in essential character from scores of 
acts showing discontent which had preceded, 
though possessing great interest from the ability 
and daring of the pleader. 



IN the year 1764, when the agitation con- 
cerning the impending Stamp Act was disturb- 
ing the colonies, Samuel Adams had reached 
the age of forty-two. Even now his hair was 
becoming gray, and a peculiar tremulousness of 
the head and hands made it seem as if he were 
already on the threshold of old age. His con- 
stitution, nevertheless, was remarkably sound. 
His frame, of about medium stature, was mus- 
cular and well-knit. His eyes were a clear steel 
gray, his nose prominent, the lower part of his 
face capable of great sternness of look, but in or- 
dinary intercourse wearing a genial expression. 
Life had brought to him much of hardship. In 
1757 his wife had died, leaving to him a son, 
still another Samuel Adams, and a daughter. 
Misfortune had followed him in business. The 
malt-house had been an utter failure ; his patri- 
mony had vanished little by little, so that be- 
yond the fair mansion on Purchase Street, with 
its pleasant harbor view, little else remained to 


him; the house was becoming rusty through 
want of means to keep it in proper repair. In 
his public relations, fortune had thus far treated 
him no more kindly. As tax-collector he had 
quite failed and was largely in arrears. There 
was a possibility of losing what little property 
remained to him, and of having his name 
stained with dishonor. His hour, however, had 
now come. 

In May, 1764, the town of Boston appointed, 
as usual, the important committee to instruct 
the representatives just elected to the General 
Court. The committee were "Richard Dana, 
Esqr., Mr. Samuel Adams, John Ruddock, 
Esqr., Nathaniel Bethune, Esqr., Joseph Green, 
Esqr.," and to Samuel Adams was given the 
task of drafting the paper. He submitted it in 
the town-meeting of the 24th, a document very 
memorable, because it contains the first public 
denial of the right of the British Parliament 
to put in operation Grenville's scheme of the 
Stamp Act, just announced ; and the first sug- 
gestion of a union of the colonies for redress of 
grievances. Samuel Adams's original draft is 
still in existence, the first public document he 
wrote of which we have any distinct trace, 
though there is ample evidence that his pen 
had frequently before been employed in that 
way. One may well have a feeling of awe as 


he reads upon the yellowing paper, in a hand- 
writing delicate but very firm, the protests 
and recommendations in which America begins 
to voice her aspirations after freedom. Adams 
says : 

"What still increases our apprehensions is, that 
these unexpected Proceedings may be preparatory to 
more extensive Taxations upon us. For if our Trade 
may be taxed, why not our Lands, the Produce of 
our lands, and in short everything we possess or 
make use of ? This, we apprehend, annihilates our 
Charter Rights to govern and tax ourselves. ... If 
Taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our 
having a legal representation where they are laid, 
are we not reduced from the Character of free Sub- 
jects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves ? " 

The instructions close with this important 
suggestion : 

u As his Majesty's other Northern American Col- 
onies are embarked with us in this most important 
Bottom, we further desire you to use your Endeavors 
that their weight may be added to that of this Prov- 
ince ; that by the united Applications of all who are 
Aggrieved, all may happily attain Redress." l 

1 The first part of this extract is copied from Samuel Ad- 
ams's autograph in the possession of Mr. Bancroft. The con- 
cluding passage does not stand in the original draft, hut is 
copied here from the Boston town records. 


Samuel Adams d^ew up this document. 
There can be no doubt that the respectable 
but inconspicuous citizens associated with him 
on the committee looked to him to supply ideas 
as well as form. Patrick Henry's famous " Vir- 
ginia resolutions " denying the right of Parlia- 
ment to tax America did not appear until a 
year later. Besides the distinct denial of this 
right contained in Samuel Adams's instruc- 
tions, and the suggestion of the union of the 
colonies for a redress of grievances, the doc- 
ument contained an assertion of the important 
position that the judges should be dependent 
for their salaries upon the general Assembly. 
Also the hint was thrown out that, if burdens 
should not be removed, agreements would be 
entered into to import no goods from Britain, as 
a measure of retaliation upon British manufac- 
turers. As the story develops, it will quickly 
be seen how important these suggestions be- 
came. There are, in fact, few documents in 
the whole course of American history so preg- 
nant with great events. 

The legislature met in June, when a memo- 
rial was forthwith prepared by James Otis for 
transmission to the agent of the colony in Eng- 
land, who was expected to make the document 
known to the English public. The memorial 
followed the suggestions, almost the very words, 


of Samuel Adams. A Committee was also ap- 
pointed to address the assemblies of the sister 
colonies, counseling united action in behalf of 
their common rights. The same year, but at a 
later session, for Bernard, little pleased with 
the tone of proceedings, made haste to pro- 
rogue the Assembly, the house, following 
again the Boston instructions, petitioned the 
government for the repeal of the Sugar Act. 

On the 6th of December of this year Sam- 
uel Adams married for his second wife Eliza- 
beth Wells, a woman of efficiency and cheerful 
fortitude, who, through the forty years of hard 
and hazardous life that remained to him, walked 
sturdily at his side. It required, indeed, no 
common virtue to do this, for while Samuel 
Adams superintended the birth of the child 
Independence, he was quite careless how the 
table at home was spread, and as to the con- 
dition of his own children's clothes and shoes. 
More than once his family would have become 
objects of charity, if the hands of the wife 
had not been ready and skillful. 

Early in 1765 Grenville brought before Par- 
liament his scheme for the Stamp Act, notice 
of which had been given some time before. 
As discussed at home, it had excited little com- 
ment ; some of the colonial agents had favored 
it. Even Franklin, then agent for Pennsylva. 


ma, apparently regarding its operation as a fore- 
gone conclusion, had taken steps to have a friend 
appointed stamp distributor in his Province. 
In America, indeed, there had been opposition. 
One royal governor, no other than Bernard, 
was strongly opposed to it, winning from Lord 
Camden in a discussion with Lord Mansfield 
the commendation of being a " great, good, and 
sensible man, who had done his duty like a 
friend to his country." Hutch inson, too, the 
lieutenant-governor, opposed it. " It cannot be 
good policy," he said, " to tax the Americans ; 
it will prove prejudicial to the national inter- 
ests. You will lose more than you will gain. 
Britain reaps the profit of all their trade and 
of the increase of their substance." Such evi- 
dences of discontent, however, as were given, it 
did not seem at all worth while to regard. The 
bill at length passed the house late at night, the 
members yawning for bed, and listening with 
impatience to the forcible protest of Barre*, who 
in their idea had the poor sense to magnify a 
mole-hill into a mountain. So little do we un- 
derstand what is trifling and what is momen- 
tous of what passes under our eyes ! 

The news was brought to the colonies by a 
ship which reached Boston in April, and the 
spirit of resistance became universal. Patrick 
Henry's resolutions, passed in May, were gen- 


erally adopted as the sentiments of America. 
In Boston the discontent came to a head in 
August, when it was resolved to hang in effigy 
Andrew Oliver, who had been appointed dis- 
tributor of stamps. Decorous though the com- 
munity ordinarily was, there was a population 
in the streets along the water side quite capa- 
ble of being carried to the extreme of ruth- 
lessness and folly. Hutchinson most unjustly 
was made the special mark of their rage. Gor- 
don states that the cause in part was certain 
unpopular financial enterprises, projected and 
carried through by him as far back as 1748. 
Since then, however, his standing with the 
townspeople had been as high as possible, and 
it must have been well known that he had op- 
posed the Stamp Act as unjust and impolitic. 
So far he had given but few signs of a course 
obnoxious to the people. The mob, however, 
mad with rum, attacked with such fury the fine 
mansion of Hutchinson at the North End, that 
he and his family escaped with difficulty. The 
house was completely gutted, and then de- 
stroyed. Handsome plate and furniture were 
shattered ; worst of all, manuscripts and other 
documents of great importance, collected by 
Hutchinson for the continuation of his history, 
were scattered loose in the streets, and for the 
most part lost. The Admiralty records also 


were burnt and other destruction committed. 
The demonstration in its earlier phases had the 
approval of the patriots. A town-meeting, 
however, the next day, condemned the excesses, 
and pledged the aid of the people to preserve 
order henceforth. 

For the meeting of the Assembly, appointed 
for the end of September, Samuel Adams again, 
in behalf of the town, prepared instructions for 
the " Boston seat." John Adams, his second 
cousin, and some years his junior, at the same 
time performed a similar service for the town 
of Braintree. The kinsmen put their heads 
together in the preparation of their work, a co- 
operation that was to be many times repeated 
in the years that were coming. The " Boston 
Gazette " spread the documents everywhere 
throughout the other towns, by whom they 
were again and again imitated, the papers be- 
coming the generally accepted platform of the 
Province. Points especially insisted on were 
the right, secured by charter to the people of 
Massachusetts, of possessing all the privileges 
of free-born Britons, representation as the in- 
dispensable condition of taxation, and the right 
of trial by jury, violated in the Admiralty 
Courts, whose jurisdiction of late had been 
much extended. The same town-meeting to 
which the instructions were reported thanked 


Conway and Barre for bold speeches in their 
behalf, and directed that their portraits should 
be placed in Faneuil Hall. 

Just now it was that Oxenbridge Thacher, a 
member of the Assembly, an ardent patriot, and 
the associate of James Otis in the case of the 
writs of assistance, died at the age of forty-five. 
On September 27 the town elected Samuel 
Adams his successor. The record in the hand 
of William Cooper states that the election took 
place on the second ballot, the candidate re- 
ceiving two hundred and sixty-five votes out 
of four hundred and forty- eight. He appeared 
the same day in the Assembly-room in the 
west end of the second story of the Old State 
House, and was immediately qualified, a mo- 
ment only before the body was prorogued by 
the governor. It was not until October that 
he fairly began that life of public service which 
was to last almost unbroken until his death. 

Samuel Adams may well be called the " Man 
of the Town-meeting." Though the sphere of 
his activity was henceforth for so much of the 
time the Massachusetts Assembly, he was not 
through that taken away from the town-meet- 
ing. The connection between the Assembly 
and the town-meetings, which stood behind it 
and sent the members to it, was a very close 
one. Each man who stood in the house, stood 


(if we may make use of a modern distinction) 
as a deputy and not as a representative ; l that 
is, he had in theory no independence, was 
bound as to all his acts by the instructions of 
the folk-mote that sent him and employed him 
simply as a matter of convenience. In the first 
days of New England there was no delegation 
of authority by the freemen. As the inconven- 
ience had become plain of requiring for the 
transaction of all business the voices of all the 
freemen, the board of selectmen had at length 
come into existence for each town ; and as the 
towns had multiplied, the central council was 
at length devised for the care of business that 
affected all. The town-meeting, however, in 
the day of its strength jealously kept to itself 
every particle of power which it could reserve. 
It was simply for convenience that the folk- 
motes sent each a man to the Assembly-cham- 
ber in King Street. The freemen could not go 
in a mass ; that would take them from their 
bread-winning. For such a crowd, too, there 
would be no room, nor would it be possible for 
all to hear and vote. A deputy must go for 
each town, but the liberty allowed to him was 
narrow. In the instructions of 1764, Samuel 
Adams, at the beginning, while informing the 
deputies that the townsmen " have delegated 

l Dr. Francis Liebcr, Political Ethics, ii. 325. 


to you the power of acting in their publick 
Concerns in general as your own prudence shall 
direct you," takes pains immediately to qualify 
carefully the concession thus : " Always reserv- 
ing to themselves the Constitutional Right of 
expressing their mind and giving you such In- 
struction upon particular Matters as they at 
any Time shall Judge proper." l 

There is no doubt that here serious harm 
could come to pass; for it must be admitted 
that the town-meeting plan can never answer 
for large affairs. In an ideal state, while the 
folk-mote is at the base, there must be found, 
through representation, the smaller governing 
and legislating body, and at length the one man, 
good enough and wise enough to be trusted 
with power to be used independently. The 
idea is of course quite erroneous that represen- 
tative government is nothing but a substitute 
for the meeting of the whole people in the fo- 
rum, made necessary by increased population. 
The representative must be held to a strict ac- 
countability indeed, but he must be his own 
man, independent in judgment, with an eye to 
the general interests, not simply those of his 
constituency ; he must be selected not because 
he is likely to be a subservient instrument, but 
for his good judgment and leadership. The 

1 Boston Town Records. 


bond should be close between him and those 
who send him. Nevertheless the representa- 
tive should be the superior man, selected be- 
cause he is superior. " Instructions " are out 
of place as addressed to such a man ; his judg- 
ment should be left untrammeled, and in cases 
where representative and constituents are likely 
to differ, they should defer to him, not he to 
them. 1 

This was not the New England theory. But 
whatever may have been the New England 
theory, there is no doubt that, in practice, the 
men who sat in the Assembly, if they really 
had ability and force, were as free as need be. 
Such men as Joseph Hawley at Northampton, 
Elbridge Gerry at Marblehead, James Warren 
at Plymouth, characters about to appear in our 
story, shaped the opinions of the communities 
in which they dwelt. According to the form, 
they spoke simply the views of the town, and 
regularly after election listened respectfully to 
the instructions which prescribed to them a 
certain course of conduct, sometimes with great 
minuteness. They themselves, however, had 
led the way to the opinions that thus found 

1 See discussions of the subject by Dr. Francis Lieber, Po- 
lit. Ethics, ii. 313, etc. ; John Stuart Mill, Representative Gov- 
ernment, p. 237; Dr. Rudolph Gneist, Geschichte und heutiye 
Gestalt der Aemter in England, 112; Burke, Speech to the 
Electors of Bristol, Novembers, 1774. 


voice ; for, with their natural power quickened 
by their folk-mote training, they usually had 
tact and force enough to sway the town to po- 
sitions near their own. How much more was 
this mastery held in the case of such a leader 
as Samuel Adams ! One fancies that he must 
have sometimes smiled inwardly, when, after 
the May election, Boston, through some novice 
or comparatively obscure personage, charged 
him and his colleagues, in peremptory terms, to 
do this, that, and the other thing him whose 
domination in the patriot ranks became quite 
absolute, who at last moulded New England 
opinion, and could place great men and small 
almost as he pleased ! Or was he so far self- 
deceived that he did not know his own strength, 
and believed that many a plan which came 
from his own powerful brain proceeded from 
the great heart of the people, which he so thor- 
oughly venerated ? 

Practically, with all the independent think- 
ing, the able men shaped opinion. In theory, 
however, all proceeded from the town-meetings, 
and those who stood for them were deputies, 
who could only do the people's will. Using 
the term " representative " in its limited sense, 
it may be said that a body like the Massachu- 
setts House was not a representative assembly ; 
it was a convention of the folk-motes, the free- 


men of each town being concentrated for con- 
venience into the delegate who stood in the 
chamber. Samuel Adams, therefore, was really 
scarcely less concerned with the folk-mote 
when he worked in the General Court, than 
when he worked in Faneuil Hall. In the lat- 
ter case he was the controlling mind of one 
town ; in the former case, of all the Massachu- 
setts towns, who, as it were, sat down together 
in the hall in King Street. For what he did 
in the latter sphere as well as in the former 
sphere he deserves to be called, above all men 
who have ever lived, " the Man of the Town- 

No building is so associated with Samuel 
Adams as the Old State House. It was only 
now and then that a town-meeting met, and 
seldom that it became so large as to overflow 
from Faneuil Hall into the Old South. After 
Samuel Adams entered the Assembly his at- 
tendance was daily at the chamber for long pe- 
riods, until he went to Congress in 1774. From 
the close of the Revolution again until 1797, 
his public service was almost without break. 
For years he was in the senate, was then lieu- 
tenant-governor, then governor, the functions 
of all which positions he discharged in one or 
another of the rooms of the Old State House. 
No other man, probably, has darkened its door- 


way so often. A wise reverence has restored 
the building nearly to its condition of a hun- 
dred years ago. On the eastern gable the lion 
and the unicorn rear opposite one another, as 
in the days of the Province ; belfry, roof, and 
windows are as of yore ; the strong walls built 
by the masons of 1713, though looked down 
upon by great structures on all sides, stand with 
a kind of unshaken independence in their place 
and compel veneration. Ascending the spiral 
staircase, one reaches the second story, where 
all stands as it was in the former time. The 
Assembly chamber occupies the western end, a 
well-lighted room, ample in size for the hun- 
dred and twenty-five deputies whom it was 
intended to accommodate. Its decoration is 
simple ; convenience, not beauty, was what the 
Puritan architect aimed at, but it is a well- 
proportioned and stately hall. On the after- 
noon when the writer first visited it, among 
other relics there stood at the west end the old 
" Speaker's desk," as it is called, which, how- 
ever, seems ill-adapted to the use of a Speaker. 
It has been suggested that probably it was the 
clerk's desk, for which it seems more suitable. 
If that is so, here sat Samuel Adams, for he 
was clerk through all those disturbed years. 
Here rose his voice as he directed the stormy 
debate ; here moved his hands as he wrote the 


papers which are the first utterances of Amer- 
ican freedom. In the chamber corresponding, 
in the eastern end of the building, the gov- 
ernor met with the Council : it was also the ses- 
sion-room of the Superior Court, and here took 
place the scene already described, when James 
Otis denounced the writs of assistance. 

Of many another noteworthy event the Old 
State House has also been the scene. In its 
halls were held anciently the town-meetings. 
Hither came the deputies from the other town- 
meetings, in the time when the New England 
folk-motes were most vigorous, most nobly ac- 
tive in effecting great results. In the whole 
history of Anglo-Saxon freedom, since the times 
when the Teutons clashed their shields in token 
of approval in the forests of the Elbe and 
Weser, what scenes are there more memorable 
than these old walls have witnessed ! The Old 
State House is the theatre where our actors for 
the most part must move. 



IT would be quite inexplicable how a new 
member at once should become to such an ex- 
tent the leading man of the legislative body, 
deferred to upon every occasion, intrusted with 
the most important work, and infusing a quite 
new tone into all the deliberations, were it not 
for a fact well attested. For many previous 
years, while the management of the malt-house 
suffered, not only in Bernard's time but through 
the years of Pownall also, and far back into the 
administration of Shirley, the quick mind and 
ready pen of Samuel Adams had been always 
busy, until at length the most important docu- 
ments, promulgated under quite other names, 
were really of his authorship. One man, and 
only one, there was in the Assembly, when 
Samuel Adams took his seat among them, who 
was treated by the body with equal deference, 
and that was James Otis, temporarily absent 
in New York at the Stamp Act congress, con- 


vened there at the suggestion of Massachusetts. 
In mind, character, and opinions, the two lead- 
ers were a strong contrast to each other in many 
ways. Otis's power was so magnetic that a 
Boston town-meeting, upon his mere entering, 
would break out into shouts and clapping, and 
if he spoke he produced effects which may be 
compared with the sway exercised by Chatham, 
whom as an orator he much resembled. Long 
after disease had made him utterly untrust- 
worthy, his spell remained, and we shall here- 
after see the American cause brought to the 
brink of ruin, because the people would follow 
him, though he was shattered. Of this gift 
Samuel Adams possessed little. He was always 
in speech straightforward and sensible, and 
upon occasion could be impressive, but his en- 
dowment was not that of the mouth of gold. 
While Otis was fitful, vacillating, and morbid, 
Samuel Adams was persistent, undeviating, and 
sanity itself. While Samuel Adams never 
abated by a hair his opposition to the British 
policy, James Otis, who at the outset had given 
the watch-word to the patriots, later, after Par- 
liament had passed the Stamp Act, said : 

" It is the duty of all humbly and silently to ac- 
quiesce in all the decisions of the supreme legislature. 
Nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand will 
never entertain the thought but of submission to our 


sovereign, and to the authority of Parliament in all 
possible contingencies." 

A point where the opinions of the two men 
were quite at variance was the idea of a repre- 
sentation of the colonies in Parliament. While 
Samuel Adams from the first rejected it as im- 
practicable and undesirable, James Otis advo- 
cated it with all his force. He was far from 
being alone in this advocacy. In England 
Grenville with many others was well disposed 
toward it, and it would probably have been 
considered but for the declaration made against 
it by the colonies themselves. Adam Smith, 
at this time becoming famous, espoused the 
view. In his idea representation should be 
proportioned to revenue, and if this were con- 
ceded to the colonies, he foresaw a time when 
in the growing importance of America the seat 
of power would be transferred thither. A few 
years later than this, the British government 
would most willingly have granted parliamen- 
tary representation to the colonies as a solution 
of the difficulties. Among Americans, Frank- 
lin, as well as James Otis, earnestly favored the 
scheme and had anticipations similar to those 
of Adam Smith ; and Hutchinson early had 
suggested the same idea. It is quite noticeable 
that in our own day Professor J. R. Seeley, in 
the " Expansion of England," treating the 


relations between Britain and her dependen- 
cies at the present time, advocates with elo- 
quence an abrogation of all distinctions between 
mother-country and dependency, and in lan- 
guage quite similar to that of James Otis urges 
the compacting and consolidating of the Brit- 
ish empire. He would have a " great world 
Venice," the sea flowing everywhere, indeed, 
through its separated portions, but uniting in- 
stead of dividing. 

Such unification now can be regarded only as 
advantageous, whether we look toward the gen- 
eral welfare, or to the internal benefits brought 
by such a consolidation to the powers them- 
selves. Disintegrated Italy has in our day 
come together into a great and powerful king- 
dom under the headship of the house of Sa- 
voy. Still more memorably Germany has been 
redeemed from the granulation which for so 
many ages had made her weak, and has become 
a magnificent nation. The practical annihila- 
tion of space and time, as man gains dominion 
over the world of matter, makes it possible 
that states should be immense in size as never 
before. The ends of the earth talk together 
almost without shouting; the man of to-day 
moves from place to place more easily and 
speedily than the rider of the enchanted horse 
or the owner of the magic carpet in the Arabian 


Nights. Modern political unification is a step 
toward making real the brotherhood of the hu- 
man race, the coming together of mankind into 
one harmonious family, to which the benevolent 
look forward. Who can question, moreover, 
that in the case of the individual citizen, whose 
political atmosphere is that of a mighty state, 
there is a largeness of view, a magnanimity 
of spirit, a sense of dignity, an obliteration of 
small prejudices, an altogether nobler set of 
ideas, than are possible to the citizen of a con- 
tracted land ? Really, in the highest view, any 
limitation of the sympathies which prevents a 
thorough, generous going out of the heart to- 
ward the whole human race is to be regretted. 
The time is to be longed and labored for when 
patriotism shall become merged into a cosmo- 
politan humanity. 1 The man who can call 
fifty millions of men his fellow-citizens is nearer 
that fine breadth of love than he whose country 
is a narrow patch. If parliamentary represen- 
tation of the American colonies had come to 
pass, the British empire might have remained 
to this day undivided, and would not the wel- 
fare of the English-speaking race, of the. world 
in general, have been well served thereby ? 

Plausible and interesting though such con- 
siderations are, parliamentary representation, 
1 Lessing, Gesprdchejur Freimaiirer. 


in any adequate shape, was for the colonies 
one hundred years ago probably quite impracti- 
cable ; and when Samuel Adams took the lead, 
as he at once did, in opposing the ideas that 
were so powerfully advocated, he showed great 
practical sense and rendered a most important 
service. Writing to Dennys Deberdt, then co- 
lonial agent, December 21, 1765, and speaking 
of Parliament, he said : - 

" We are far, however, from desiring any represen- 
tation there, because we think the Colonies cannot be 
fully and equally represented ; and if not equally, 
then in effect not at all. A representative should be, 
and continue to be, well acquainted with the internal 
circumstances of the people whom he represents. It 
is often necessary that the circumstances of individual 
towns should be brought into comparison with those 
of the whole ; so it is particularly when taxes are in 
consideration. The proportionate part of each to 
the whole can be found only by an exact knowledge 
of the internal circumstances of each. Now the Col- 
onies are at so great a distance from the place where 
the Parliament meets, from which they are separated 
by a wide ocean, and their circumstances are so often 
and continually varying, as is the case in countries 
not fully settled, that it would not be possible for 
men, though ever so well acquainted with them at 
the beginning of a Parliament, to continue to have 
an adequate knowledge of them during the existence 
of that Parliament. . . - 


" The several subordinate powers of legislation in 
America seem very properly to have been constituted 
upon their [the colonists] being considered as free 
subjects of England, and the impossibility of their 
being represented in Parliament, for which reason 
these powers ought to be held sacred. The Ameri- 
can powers of government are rather to be considered 
as matters of justice than favor, without them, 
they cannot enjoy that freedom which, having never 
forfeited, no power on earth has any right to deprive 
them of." 

Still another consideration must have weighed 
with Samuel Adams aside from those men- 
tioned here. He well knew how great the 
departure had been in England from the prim- 
itive institutions and standards of the old Teu- 
tonic freedom. Liberty seemed to be sinking 
before the encroachments of arbitrary power. 
Corruption was universal and scarcely noticed ; 
the great masses of the people, practically un- 
represented in the government, apathetic or 
despairing, were losing the characteristics of 
freemen. Already he had begun to cherish the 
idea of independence in his own mind. Amer- 
ica must cut loose, not only because she was de- 
nied her rights, but because she Avas bound to 
a ship that was embarrassed almost to sinking, 
with few sailors in the crew that manned her 
likely to have strength and skill enough to 


keep her afloat. Precisely at this time, in the 
troubles connected with the election of Wilkes, 
the agitation was beginning that was to result, 
after sixty years, in the great Reform Bill of 
1832. The stubborn resistance of America, of 
which Samuel Adams was to such an extent 
the heart and centre, operated most beneficently 
for England, by encouraging there a similar 
temper. Had the American disputes ended in 
a grant of parliamentary representation, or any 
result short of a complete sundering, much 
of the healthful pressure which afterwards 
brought on reform in England must have been 
wanting. That America insisted on independ- 
ence not only saved her, but also the mother- 
land. 1 England's other great dependencies, 
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, have pre- 
ferred to remain in the bond ; yet at the same 
time they are free. But in order that it should 
be possible for them to remain and be free, it 
was necessary for America to depart. Only in 
that way could England be brought to purify 
herself, and learn how to use properly the 
power that has been placed in her hands. 

With the changed temper of the mother- 
land, and the changed conditions under which 
our lives now pass, the objections to a connec- 
tion with England, so important one hundred 

1 Buckle, Hist, of Civilization, i. 345. 


years ago, have been to a large extent set aside. 
If the bond were now existing, is there really 
much in present circumstances to justify the 
severing of it ? Is Freeman's anticipation to 
be looked upon as unreasonable and unattrac- 
tive, that a time may come when, through some 
application of the federal principle, the great 
English-speaking world, occupying so rapidly 
north, south, east, and west, the fairest portions 
of the planet, not only one in tongue, but sub- 
stantially one in institutions and essential char- 
acter, may come together into a vaster United 
States, the " great world Venice," the pathways 
to whose scattered parts shall be the subjected 
seas ? 1 

The meeting of the legislature in September, 
1765, which Bernard prorogued so summarily, 
scarcely giving Samuel Adams time to take his 
oath as a member, had yet been long enough to 
afford the governor opportunity to lay before 
them a message, in which, however he might 
before have shown leanings to the popular side, 
he now declared that the authority of Parlia- 
ment was supreme, and counseled submission. 
The Assembly had time to arrange for an an- 
swer to the address, and a statement of their 

1 See also J. R. Seeley's Expansion of England, and a pam- 
phlet by Rev. F. Barbara Zincke, noticed in the Nation, April 
5, 1883. 


position. Samuel Adams was put at once in 
the forefront, the task being assigned to him 
of drafting the papers. When in October the 
legislature again met, two documents were soon 
reported, both the work of Mr. Adams, a re- 
sponse to Bernard, and a series of resolves des- 
tined to great fame as the " Massachusetts Re- 

In the response, while the courtesy of the 
terms is consummate, the clearest assertions 
respecting the limitation of the powers of Par- 
liament are made. Strong loyalty to the king 
is expressed, while the Assembly at the same 
time refuses to assist in the execution of the 
Stamp Act. The resolves contain the same 
ideas substantially, but in a different form of 
expression, since they were meant to be a pro- 
mulgation to the world of the sentiments of 

Matters in Massachusetts were fast passing 
from the nebulous stage into clear definition. 
The supporters of the ministry began to with- 
draw from positions inconsistent with the claims 
now made by the government ; and the As- 
sembly, by adopting these resolves, for the 
first time committed itself formally to opposi- 
tion. Had Otis been present there would no 
doubt have been less decision. In May of 
this year he had made the declaration, already 


quoted, respecting the necessity of submission 
to Parliament ; his mind, too, was full of the 
thought of a parliamentary representation for 
the colonies. Otis, however, was absent at the 
Congress in New York, and the energetic new 
member swayed the House according to his 
will, with no one to cross his plans. 

The New York Congress, at which delegates 
had appeared from nine of the colonies, had 
been far from harmonious in their discussions. 
Timothy Ruggles, the president, a delegate 
from Massachusetts, a brave old soldier, re- 
fused to sign the documents submitted, and 
cast his lot with the Tories henceforth. Ogden, 
of New Jersey, acted with him. Otis bore a 
prominent part, but was nevertheless forced to 
abandon his positions by signing the papers, 
which were inconsistent with the idea of sub- 
mission to Parliament, and declared American 
representation to be impracticable. In the 
midst of the debates a ship loaded with stamps 
arrived, at which the town was thrown into the 
greatest turmoil. During the excitement the 
delegates, feeling the necessity of union, made 
mutual concessions, and finally, with the excep- 
tions above mentioned, signed petitions contain- 
ing substantially the ideas of the Massachusetts 
Resolves, by which the colonies became " a bun- 
dle of sticks, which could neither be bent nor 


The response to Bernard and the Massachu- 
setts Resolves, which presently after were 
mocked at in England as " the ravings of a 
parcel of wild enthusiasts," were greeted in 
America with great approval. The 1st of No- 
vember was the day appointed for the Stamp 
Act to go into operation. In Boston the morn- 
ing was ushered in by the tolling of bells and 
the firing of minute-guns. The deep popular 
discontent found sullen expression, though the 
excesses of the August riots were avoided. 
The stamps had arrived and been stored at 
Castle William in the harbor, an additional 
force being appointed to guard them. Bernard, 
much embarrassed by the stubborn opposition, 
sought advice from the Council and Assembly 
as to what course to take, but with no good re- 
sult. The Assembly, soon after convening, pro- 
ceeded to consider the possibility of transacting 
business without the use of stamps, a matter 
which had been touched upon in the preceding 
session, and for meddling with which they had 
been prorogued. As was the usage, committees 
were appointed in which the business was to be 
shaped before coming under the consideration 
of the whole body, of all which Mr. Adams was 
a leading member and sometimes chairman. 
By his hand, too, at this time the House re- 
buked the governor and Council for drawing 


without its consent, from the provincial treas- 
ury, money to pay the additional troops at the 
Castle, declaring that to make expenditures un- 
authorized by the people's representatives was 
an infringement upon their rights. 

Otis and his colleagues now returning from 
New York with a report of the proceedings of 
the Stamp Act Congress, the Assembly at once 
indorsed its action. In letters of Mr. Adams 
at this time sent to England, in which he writes 
for others as well as himself, a plan is men- 
tioned at which he had before hinted, and which 
was now, under the name of the " non-impor- 
tation " scheme, about to become one of the 
most effective means of resistance which the 
colonists could employ. Spreading from Mas- 
sachusetts, where Adams had suggested the 
idea, to the thirteen colonies in general, it 
struck terror into the hearts of British traders, 
who saw ruin for themselves in the cutting off 
of the American demand for their products. 

A general gloom now settled over Massachu- 
setts. The courts were closed ; business, to a 
large extent, came to a stand. No legal or 
commercial papers were valid without the 
stamp, and the stamps lay untouched at the 
Castle, the Province refusing to use them. The 
law was in many places in the colonies set at 
defiance and evaded. Men had recourse to ar- 


bitration in the settlement of disputes. Ships 
entered and cleared, and other business was 
done, in contempt of the statute. Newspapers 
were published with a death's head in the place 
where the law required a stamp. The strait 
was severe, and on the 18th of December a 
Boston town-meeting took place to consider 
measures looking toward the opening of the 
courts. A committee was appointed, of which 
Samuel Adams was chairman, to petition the 
governor and Council, and it was agreed to em- 
ploy Jeremiah Gridley, a famous lawyer of the 
day, James Otis, and John Adams, to support 
the memorial. 

Samuel Adams had a quick eye for power 
and availability of every kind, and now that he 
was in the foreground he swept the field every- 
where for useful allies. Of the brilliant young 
men who were about to come forward in Mas- 
sachusetts as the contest became fierce, there is 
scarcely one whom Samuel Adams did not, so 
to speak, discover, or to whom, at any rate, he 
did not stand sponsor as the new-comer took 
his place among the strivers. He it was who 
suggested to the town the employment of his 
young Braintree kinsman, John Adams, who 
now for the first time steps into prominence in 
public affairs. The diary of John Adams gives 
an account of his waiting until candle-light dur- 


ing the winter afternoon in the representatives' 
chamber, in company with the town's commit- 
tee and many others, until a message came 
across the hall from Bernard and the Council, 
in the east room, to Samuel Adams, directing 
that the memorial of the town should be pre- 
sented, and that the counsel in support should 
attend, but no others. The memorial had no 
effect, and the strait remained at present unre- 

John Adams has interesting things to say in 
his diary about the clubs, at which he meets 
the famous characters of the day. 

" This day learned that the Caucus Club meets at 
certain times in the garret of Tom Dawes, the adju- 
tant of the Boston regiment. He has a large house, 
and he has a movable partition in his garret, which 
he takes down, and the whole club meets in one room. 
There they smoke tobacco till you cannot see from 
one end of the garret to the other. There they drink 
flip, I suppose, and there they choose a moderator 
who puts questions to the vote regularly ; and select- 
men, assessors, collectors, wardens, fire- wards, and 
representatives are regularly chosen before they are 
chosen in the town. Uncle Fairfield, Story, Rud- 
dock, Adams, Cooper, and a rudis indigestaque moles 
are members. They send committees to wait on the 
Merchant's Club, and to propose and join in the choice 
of men and measures." 

It was the successor of this club to which 


Samuel Adams now introduced John Adams. 
The new organization was larger, and the scope 
of its action, too, instead of being limited to 
town affairs, now included a far wider range 
in the struggle that was beginning. 



CAREFUL observers are remarking that the 
temper of the legislature, as shown by the re- 
sponse to Bernard and the Massachusetts Re- 
solves, is something quite different from what it 
has been. This difference is to be attributed 
to the influence of Samuel Adams, who, al- 
though for several years well known, now for 
the first time finds opportunity to make him- 
self properly felt. Meantime events are taking 
place across the water which require our no- 

Inasmuch as the American Colonies had prof- 
ited especially from the successes of the war, it 
had been felt, justly enough, that they should 
bear a portion of the burden. It might have 
been possible to secure from them a good sub- 
sidy, but the plan devised for obtaining it was 
unwise. The principle was universally admit- 
ted that Parliament had power to levy " exter- 
nal" taxes, those intended for the regulation 
of commerce. With the Stamp Act, in 1764, 


Grenville had taken a step farther. This was 
an " internal " tax, one levied directly for the 
purpose of raising a revenue, not for the regu- 
lation of commerce. The unconscious Gren- 
ville explained his scheme in an open, honest 
way. "I am not, however," said he to the colo- 
nial agents in London, " set upon this tax. If 
the Americans dislike it and prefer any other 
method, I shall be content. Write, therefore, 
to your several colonies, and if they choose any 
other mode, I shall be satisfied, provided the 
money be but raised." But Britain, pushing 
thus more earnestly than heretofore, found her- 
self, much to her surprise, confronted by a stout 
and well-appointed combatant, not to be brow- 
beaten or easily set aside. 

No one was more astonished than Grenville 
that precisely now an opposition so decided 
should be called out. He had meant to soften 
his measures by certain palliatives. For the 
southern colonies, the raising of rice was fa- 
vored ; the timber trade and hemp and flax in 
the north received substantial encouragement ; 
most important of all measures, all restriction 
was taken from the American whale fishery, 
even though it was quite certain under such 
conditions to ruin that of the British isles. 
Grenville felt that he had proceeded prudently. 
He had asked advice of many Americans, who 


had made no objection to, and in some cases 
had approved, the Stamp Act. Men of the best 
opportunities for knowing the temper of the 
colonies, like Shirley, fifteen years governor of 
Massachusetts, and for a time commander-in- 
chief of all the military forces in America, had 
decidedly favored it. Nothing better than the 
Stamp Act had been suggested, though Gren- 
ville had invited suggestions as to substitutes. 
America, however, was in a ferment, and Eng- 
land, too, for one reason or another, was in a 
temper scarcely less threatening. Something 
must be done at once. But the responsibility 
was taken out of the hands of Grenville ; a 
new ministry had come into power, and he was 
once more a simple member of Parliament. 

The new premier was the Marquis of Rock- 
ingham, a young statesman of liberal principles 
and excellent sense, though with a strange in- 
capacity for expressing himself, which made 
him a cipher in debate. The secretary of state, 
in whose department especially came the man- 
agement of the colonies, was General Conway, 
like Barr6 a brave officer and admirable man, 
and well-disposed toward America. On the 
14th of January began that debate, so memo- 
rable both on account of the magnitude of the 
issues involved and the ability of the dispu- 
tants who took part. A few Americans, Frank- 


lin and other colonial agents among them, list- 
ened breathlessly in the gallery, and transmitted 
to their country a broken, imperfect report of 
all the superb forensic thunder. Whoever stud- 
ies candidly the accounts cannot avoid receiving 
a deep impression as to the power and substan- 
tial good purpose of the great speakers, and as to 
the grave embarrassments that clogged them in 
striving to point out a practicable course. The 
agitation out of which reform was to come was 
already in the air. While none of the actors 
in the scene appreciated the depth of the gulf 
into which England was sinking, all evidently 
felt the pressure of evil. Mansfield appears 
ready at one point to admit abuse, but depre- 
cates interference with the constitution, while 
Pitt denounces the " rotten boroughs," and de- 
clares that they must be lopped off. 

Edmund Burke made upon this occasion his 
maiden speech, but no one thought it worth 
while, in those days before systematic report- 
ing had begun, to record the words of the un- 
known young man. Pitt, who followed him, 
hushed all into attention as he rose in his fee- 
bleness, his eloquence becoming more touching 
from the strange disease by which he was af- 
flicted, and which he was accused of using pur- 
posely to increase the effect of his words ; he 
first praised the effort of the new member, and 


then proceeded in that address so worthy of his 
fame. Pitt's advice was that the Stamp Act 
should be repealed absolutely and immediately, 
but at the same time that the sovereignty of 
England over the colonies should be asserted 
in the strongest possible terms, and be made 
to extend to every point of legislation, except 
that of taking their money without consent. 

"There is an idea in some that the colonies are 
virtually represented in this house. They never have 
been represented at all in Parliament. I would fain 
know by whom an American is represented here. Is 
he represented by any knight of the shire in any 
county of this kingdom ? Would to God that re- 
spectable representation were augmented by a greater 
number ! Or will you tell me that he is represented 
by any representative of a borough, a borough which 
perhaps no man ever saw ? This is what is called 
the rotten part of the constitution ; it cannot endure 
the century. If it does not drop it must be ampu- 
tated. The idea of a virtual representation of Amer- 
ica in this house is the most contemptible that ever 
entered into the head of a man. It does not deserve 
a serious refutation." 

Later in the winter, when the debate was re- 
newed in the House of Lords, Lord Cam den, 
chief justice of the Common Pleas, supported the 
views of Pitt in a strain which the latter called 
divine. He tried to establish by a learned cita- 


tion of precedents that the parts and estates of 
the realm had not been taxed until represented ; 
but as if he felt that abuses had accumulated, 
he declared that, if the right of the Americans 
to tax themselves could not be established in 
this way, it would be well to give it to them 
from principles of natural justice. Among 
those who replied, the most noteworthy was 
Lord Mansfield, chief justice of England, who 
declared, in opposition to Camden, that : 

" The doctrine of representation seemed ill-founded. 
There are 12,000,000 people in England and Ireland 
who are not represented ; the notion now taken up, 
that every subject must be represented by deputy, is 
purely ideal. There can be no doubt, my lord, that 
the inhabitants of the colonies are as much repre- 
sented in Parliament as the greatest part of the peo- 
ple of England are represented, among 9,000,000 
of whom there are 8,000,000 who have no votes in 
electing members of Parliament. Every objection, 
therefore, to the dependency of the colonies upon 
Parliament, which arises to it upon the ground of 
representation, goes to the whole present constitution 
of Great Britain, and I suppose it is not meant to 
new-model that too ! A member of Parliament chosen 
by any borough represents not only the constituents 
and inhabitants of that particular place, but he repre- 
sents the inhabitants of every other borough in Great 
Britain. He represents the city of London and all 
other the Commons of this land and the inhabitants 


of all the colonies and dominions of Great Britain, 
and is in duty and conscience bound to take care of 
their interests." 

When, after the speech of Mansfield, the 
subject came to a vote in the House of Lords, 
the matter stood in his favor by one hundred 
and twenty -five to five. In the Commons the 
majority on the same side was as overwhelm- 
Looking back upon this momentous debate 
after a century and a quarter has elapsed, what 
are we to say as to the merits of it ? England 
has completely changed since then her colonial 
policy, but no sober second thought has induced 
her historians to believe that the position of 
the government was plainly a wrong one. Pitt 
and Camden turned the scale for us in the 
Stamp Act matter : their declarations put back- 
bone into the colonial resistance, and disheart- 
ened the ministry in England ; but Pitt's opin- 
ions were declared at the time to be peculiar to 
himself and Lord Camden, and have ever since, 
in England, been treated as untenable. 1 Mans- 
field's theory of " virtual representation," that 
a representative represents the whole realm, 
not merely his own constituency, " all other 
the Commons of this land, and the inhabitants 
of all the colonies and dominions of Great 

1 Massey, Hist, of Reign of George III. i. 262. 


Britain, and is in duty and conscience bound 
to take care of their interests," is declared by 
another writer to be grandly true, though, to 
be sure, somewhat overstrained as regards the 
colonies. Burke, a few years afterwards, ad- 
dressing the electors of Bristol, developed the 
doctrine elaborately. Mansfield was right in 
urging that the constitution knows no limitation 
of the power of Parliament, and no distinction 
between the power of taxation and other kinds 
of legislation. The abstract right, continues 
our historian, was unquestionably on the side 
of the minister and Parliament, who had im- 
posed the tax, and that right is still acted 
upon. In 1868, in the trial of Governor Eyre 
of Jamaica, the English Judge Blackburn de- 
cided, " although the general rule is that the 
legislative assembly has the sole right of im- 
posing taxes in the colony, yet when the im- 
perial legislature chooses to impose taxes, ac- 
cording to the rule of English law they have a 
right to do it." l Lecky says : 

" It was a first principle of the constitution, that a 
member of Parliament was the representative not 
merely of his own constituency, but also of the whole 
empire. Men connected with, or at least specially in- 
terested in the colonies, always found their way into 
Parliament ; and the very fact that the colonial ar- 
1 Yonge, Const. Hist, of England, p 66. 


guments were maintained with transcendent power 
within its walls was sufficient to show that the colo- 
nies were virtually represented." 

Lecky, however, even while thus arguing, 
admits that the Stamp Act did unquestiona- 
bly infringe upon a great principle ; and he ac- 
knowledges that the doctrine, that taxation and 
representation are inseparably connected, lies 
at the very root of the English conception of po- 
litical liberty. It was only by straining matters 
that the colonies could be said to be virtually 
represented, and in resisting the Stamp Act the 
principle involved was the same as that which 
led Hampden to refuse to pay the ship money. 1 

It is only fair for the present generation of 
Americans to weigh arguments like those of 
Mansfield, and to understand how involved the 
case was. The statesmen of the time of George 
III. were neither simpletons nor utterly ruth- 
less oppressors. They were men of fair pur- 
poses and sometimes of great abilities, not be- 
fore their age in knowledge of national economy 
and political science ; still, however, sincerely 
loving English freedom, and, with such light as 
they had, striving to rule in a proper manner 
the great realm which was given them to be 
guided. In ways which the wisest of them did 
not fully appreciate, the constitution had under 
1 Lecky, iii. 353, etc. 


gone deterioration through the carelessness of 
the people and the arbitrary course of many of 
the rulers, until the primeval Anglo-Saxon 
freedom was scarcely recognizable, and liberty 
was in great jeopardy. Following usages and 
precedents, learned lawyers could easily find 
justification for an arbitrary course on the part 
of the ministers, and it is a mark of greatness 
in Camden, that, learned lawyer though he was, 
he felt disposed to rest the cause of the colonies 
on the basis of " natural justice," rather than 
upon the technicalities with which it was his 
province to deal. In the shock of the Stamp 
Act and Wilkes agitations England came to her- 
self, and by going back to the primeval princi- 
ples started on a course of reform by no means 
yet complete. At this very time Richard 
Bland of Virginia, anticipating by a century 
the spirit and methods of the constitutional 
writers of whom E. A. Freeman is the best- 
known example, uttered sentences which might 
well have been taken as their motto by the 
" Friends of the People," the " Society of the 
Bill of Rights," and the other organizations in 
England which were just beginning to be active 
for the salvation of their country. He derived 
the English constitution from Anglo-Saxon 
principles of the most perfect equality, which 
invested every freeman with a right to vote. 


" If nine tenths of the people of Britain are de- 
prived of the high privilege of being electors, it 
would be a work worthy of the best patriotic spirits 
of the nation to restore the constitution to its pris- 
tine perfection." 

Much as Pitt and Camden were admired, and 
powerful as was their brave denunciation of 
the Stamp Act and their demand for its repeal, 
their famous position that a distinction must 
be made between taxation and legislation, and 
that while Parliament could not tax it could 
legislate, seemed no more tenable to Ameri- 
cans than it did to Englishmen. As we shall 
see, the colonial leaders soon pass on from de- 
manding representation as a condition of taxa- 
tion, to demanding representation as a condi- 
tion of legislation of every kind; they deny 
utterly the power of Parliament to interfere in 
any of their affairs ; they owe allegiance to the 
king, but of Parliament they are completely in- 
dependent. So Franklin had already declared. 
This position was shocking to Pitt, and he would 
have been as willing to suppress its upholders 
as was Lord North himself. 

It is making no arrogant claim to say that 
in all this preliminary controversy the Ameri- 
can leaders show a much better appreciation of 
the principles of Anglo-Saxon liberty, and a 
management much more statesman-like, than 


even the best men across the water. It was to 
be expected. As far as New England is con- 
cerned, there is no denying the oft quoted as- 
sertion of S tough ton that God sifted a whole 
nation to procure the seed out of which the 
people was to be developed. The colonists 
were picked men and women, and the circum- 
stances under which they were placed on their 
arrival on these shores forced upon them a re- 
vival of institutions which in England had long 
been overlaid. The folk-mote had reappeared 
in all its old vigor, and wrought in the society 
its natural beneficent effect. Together with 
intelligence and self-reliance in every direction, 
it had especially trained in the people the polit- 
ical sense. In utter blindness the Englishman 
of our revolutionary period looked down upon 
the colonist as wanting in reason and courage. 
Really the colonist was a superior being, both 
as compared with the ordinary British citizen 
and with the noble. Originally of the best 
English strain, a century and a half of training 
under the institution best adapted of all human 
institutions to quicken manhood had had its 
effect. What influences had surrounded lord 
or commoner across the water to develop in 
them a capacity to cope with the child of the 
Puritan, schooled thoroughly in the town-meet- 



FROM the imposing British Parliament, sit- 
ting in the shadow of Westminster Abbey, 
with Westminster Hall close at hand, and just 
beyond these the City, fast becoming the heart 
of the civilized world, to come to the little pro- 
vincial town and the Old State House with its 
modest company of town-meeting deputies is a 
change marked indeed. But the deputies are 
as worthy of regard as their high placed con- 
temners at St. Stephen's. 

Though Otis was still the popular idol, Sam- 
uel Adams became every day more and more 
the power behind all, preparing the documents, 
laying trains for effects far in the future, watch- 
ful as regards the slightest encroachments. In 
Faneuil Hall as plain townsman, and also in 
his place as deputy, he is found busy with 
plans for helping on the work of the courts 
without yielding to the requirements of the 
Stamp Act, while the crown officials on their 
side uphold the authority of Parliament. On 


the 16th of May, 1766, however, the Harrison, 
a brigantine, six weeks out from England, cast 
anchor in the inner harbor with news of the 
repeal of the Stamp Act. The powerful voices 
raised in opposition to it in Parliament, the 
pressure from the trading and manufacturing 
centres, the clamor of the people, had brought 
about the change. The measure, however, was 
accompanied by the Declaratory Act, in which 
the ground of Pitt was by no means taken, but 
the assertion was made that Parliament was su- 
preme over the colonies in all cases whatsoever. 
For expediency's sake the obnoxious tax was 
repealed, but the right to tax and to legislate in 
every other way for the colonies was plainly 
stated. The people in general, nevertheless, no- 
ticed only the repeal, and were transported with 
joy. Salutes were fired from the different bat- 
teries, the shipping was dressed with flags, the 
streets were full of music. At night Liberty 
Tree was hung full of lanterns, transparencies 
were shown, fire-works were displayed on the 
Common, and high and low feasted and reveled. 
John Hancock, a rich young merchant, twenty- 
nine years old, lately come into a great fortune 
through the death of his uncle, Thomas Han- 
cock, particularly signalized himself by his lib- 
erality. Before his handsome mansion opposite 
the Common, a pipe of Madeira wine was dis- 


tributed to the people. His house and those of 
other grandees near were full of the finer world, 
while the multitude were out under the trees, 
just leafing out for the spring. One is glad to 
record that for once poor Bernard cordially sym- 
pathized with the popular feeling. He and his 
Council had a congratulatory meeting in the af- 
ternoon, and in the evening walked graciously 
about among the people, a brief harmonious 
interlude with discord before and triple discord 
to come in the near future. 

In May, as usual, the elections for representa- 
tives were held. Boston returned as the four to 
which it was entitled, Samuel Adams, Thomas 
Gushing, James Otis, and a new member, des- 
tined in the time coming to great celebrity, 
John Hancock. True to his self-imposed func- 
tion of enlisting for the public service young 
men likely for any reason to be helpful, it was 
Mr. Adams who brought forward the new mem- 
ber. The handsome, free-handed young mer- 
chant, perhaps the richest man of the Province, 
began now a public career, in the main though 
not always useful, almost as continuous and pro- 
tracted as that of Mr. Adams himself. 

Still another noteworthy addition was made 
this year to the Assembly in Joseph Hawley, 
sent as member for Norihampton on the Con- 
necticut River, a man of the purest character, of 


bright intellect, devoted to the cause of the pa- 
triots, and especially helpful through his pro- 
found legal knowledge. His influence was pow- 
erful with the country members, who sometimes 
showed a jealousy, not unusual in the present 
day, of the representatives of the metropolis. 
Samuel Adams and Hawley thoroughly appre- 
ciated one another, and worked hand in hand 
through many a difficult crisis in the years that 
were approaching. 

During the troubled sessions to come Thomas 
Gushing was chosen each year the speaker = 
an honorable but not especially significant man 
among the patriots, who, through the fact that 
he was figure-head of the House, Avas sometimes 
credited in England and among the other colo- 
nies with an importance which he never really 
possessed. Samuel Adams at the same time 
was made clerk, a position which gave him 
some control of the business of the House, and 
was worth about a hundred pounds a year. 
His ability in drafting documents was now par- 
ticularly in place ; at the same time he was not 
at all debarred from appearing in debate. From 
this time forward, until he went to Congress at 
Philadelphia, he was annually made clerk, the 
little stipend forming often his sole means of 

At the instance of James Otis, on the 3d of 


June, the debates of the Assembly were thrown 
open to the public, and arrangements were made 
for a gallery where the sessions could be wit- 
nessed by all. For the first time in the history 
of legislative associations it was made the right 
of the plain citizen to hear and see a usage 
which has modified in important ways the pro- 
ceedings and very character of deliberative bod- 

No long-headed statesman in the colonies, in 
face of the Declaratory Act, could feel that the 
contest with the home government was any- 
thing more than adjourned, and the wary Mas- 
sachusetts managers were careful not to be 
caught napping. The constitution of the Coun- 
cil or upper house will be remembered. It 
consisted of twenty-eight members, elected each 
year by the Assembly and the preceding Coun- 
cil, voting together ; the governor possessed the 
power of rejecting thirteen of the twenty -eight 
elected. Immediately after the organization of 
the Assembly at the end of May, Bernard and 
the leaders came to strife as to the composition 
of the new Council. There were five persons 
upon the election of whom the governor's heart 
was especially fixed, Hutchinson, Andrew 
and Peter Oliver, Trowbridge, and Lynde. 
They were "prerogative men" and very im- 
portant in the way of keeping in check in the 


upper house any feeling of sympathy with the 
spirit of opposition, which was sure to be rife 
in the Assembly. As Bernard was anxious to 
retain them, the popular leaders were just as 
anxious to exclude them ; Hutchinson, in par- 
ticular, from his great ability and influence, was 
especially desired on the one hand and dreaded 
on the other. These five the Assembly refused 
to reelect, taking the ground that, as crown of- 
ficials, it was inappropriate that they should sit 
in the legislature. Hutchinson was lieutenant- 
governor, chief justice, and judge of probate ; 
the Olivers were respectively secretary and 
judge in the Superior Court, Lynde was a 
judge also, and Trowbridge was attorney-gen- 
eral. In a paper justifying the course of the 
Assembly, drafted by Adams, but in the com- 
position of which Otis no doubt had a share, 
the desire was expressed to release " the judges 
from the cares and perplexities of politics, and 
give them an opportunity to make still further 
advances in the knowledge of the law." Ber- 
nard possessed no means of constraining the 
election of his friends. He rejected six of the 
councilors elected by the Assembly, by way of 
retaliation, and scolded the body sharply. The 
vacancies remained unfilled, although Hutchin- 
son tried to retain his place on the strength of 
his office as lieutenant-governor. The Assem- 


bly was inflexible. Into the place of leader of 
the Council stepped the excellent James Bow- 
doin, a well-to-do merchant of Huguenot de- 
scent, of the best sense and character, who 
henceforth for many years played a most use- 
ful part ; at present he rendered great service 
by keeping the Council and the Assembly in 

Hawley at once made himself felt as a bold 
and clear-headed statesman. " The Parliament 
of Great Britain," said he, during this session, 
" has no right to legislate for us." Hereupon 
James Otis, rising in his seat, and bowing to- 
ward Hawley, exclaimed : " He has gone far- 
ther than I have yet done in this house." With 
his lawyer's acumen the Northampton member 
seemed to appreciate the untenability of Pitt's 
opinion and to reject it at once. In 1766, to 
deny to Parliament the right of legislating for 
the colonies was advanced ground, but it came 
soon to be generally occupied. 

In December, 1766, soon after the adjourn- 
ment of the legislature, a vessel, having on 
board two companies of royal artillery, was 
driven by stress of weather into Boston harbor. 
The governor, by advice of the Council, directed 
that provision should be made for them at the 
expense of the Province, following the prece- 
dent established shortly before, when a com- 


pany had been organized to be paid by the 
Province, but without the consent of the rep- 
resentatives, for the protection of the stamps 
at the castle. In the case in hand humanity 
demanded that the soldiers should be received 
and provided for ; a principle, however, was 
again violated in a way which sharp-eyed patri- 
ots could not overlook. Here resistance was 
made, as in the previous case, and we find now 
the beginnings of a matter which developed 
into great importance. 

According to the account of Hutchinsou, the 
jealousy which the country towns had felt of 
the influence of Boston was disappearing at the 
time of the Stamp Act. Thenceforward the 
leaders are for the most part the Boston men, 
who project and conduct all the measures of 
importance. In the intervals between the ses- 
sions of the Assembly, town-meetings are fre- 
quent, in which general interests, as well as 
things purely local, are considered. In town- 
meeting and Assembly the leaders are the same, 
a select body of whom meet at stated times and 
places in the evening, at least once a week, to 
concert plans, inspire the newspapers, arrange 
for news. 

With calmness and accuracy Hutchinson 
states the gradual changes of position which 
the colonies assume as the contest proceeds. 


The view which advanced minds had some time 
before adopted became general. The author- 
ity of Parliament to pass any acts whatever 
affecting the interior polity of the colonies was 
called in question, as destroying the effect of 
the charters. King, lords, and commons, it is 
said, form the legislature of Great Britain ; so 
the king by his governors, the councils and as- 
semblies, forms the legislatures of the colonies. 
But as colonies cannot make laws to extend 
farther than their respective limits, Parliament 
must interpose in all cases where the legisla- 
tive power of the colonies is ineffectual. Here 
the line of the authority of Parliament ought 
to be drawn ; all beyond is encroachment upon 
the constitutional powers of the colonial legis- 
latures. This doctrine, says Hutchinson, was 
taught in every colony from Virginia to Massa- 
chusetts, as early as 1767. 

The liberal Rockingham administration, after 
a few months of power, disappeared, having sig- 
nalized itself as regarded America by the re- 
peal of the Stamp Act, and by the Declaratory 
Act. Of the new ministry the leading spirit 
was Charles Townshend, a brilliant statesman, 
but unscrupulous and unwise. His inclinations 
were arbitrary ; he regretted the repeal of the 
Stamp Act, as did also the king and Parliament 
in general, who felt themselves to have been 


humiliated. Pitt, indeed, now Earl of Chatham, 
was a member of the government ; but, op- 
pressed by illness, he could exercise no restraint 
upon his colleague, and the other members were 
either in sympathy with To wnsh end's views, or 
unable to oppose him. Townshend's three 
measures affecting America, introduced on the 
13th of May, 1767, were : a suspension of the 
functions of the legislature of New York for 
contumacy in the treatment of the royal troops ; 
the establishment of commissioners of the cus- 
toms, appointed with large powers to super- 
intend laws relating to trade ; and lastly an 
impost duty upon glass, red and white lead, 
painters' colors, paper, and tea. This was an 
"external" duty to which the colonists had 
heretofore expressed a willingness to submit; 
but the grounds of the dispute were shifting. 
Townshend had declared that he held in con- 
tempt the distinction sought to be drawn be- 
tween external and internal taxes, but that he 
would so far humor the colonists in their quib- 
ble as to make his tax of that kind of which 
the right was admitted. A revenue of 40,000 
a year was expected from the tax, which was 
to be applied to the support of a " civil list," 
namely, the paying the salaries of the new 
commissioners of customs, and of the judges 
and governors, who were to be relieved wholly 


or in part from their dependence upon the an- 
nual grants of the Assemblies ; then, if a sur- 
plus remained, it was to go to the payment of 
troops for protecting the colonies. To make 
more efficient, moreover, the enforcement of the 
revenue laws, the writs of assistance, the de- 
nunciation of which by James Otis had formed 
so memorable a crisis, were formally legalized. 

The popular discontent, appeased by the 
repeal of the Stamp Act, was at once awake 
again, and henceforth in the denial of the 
right of Parliament to tax, we hear no more 
of acquiescence in commercial restrictions and 
in the general legislative authority of Parlia- 
ment. A knowledge of the scandalous pen- 
sion list in England, the monstrous abuses of 
patronage in Ireland, the corruptions which 
already existed in America, made the people 
indignant at the thought of an increase in the 
numbers and pay of placemen. 

Now it is that still another of the foster 
children of Samuel Adams emerges into prom- 
inence, the bright and enthusiastic Josiah Quin- 
cy, already at the age of twenty-three becom- 
ing known as a writer, who urges an armed 
resistance at once to the plans of the ministry. 
It was the over-hasty counsel of youth, and the 
plan for resistance adopted by the cooler beads 
was that of Samuel Adams, namely, the non- 


importation and the non-consumption of Brit- 
ish products. From Boston out, through an 
impulse proceeding from him, town-meetings 
were everywhere held to encourage the man- 
ufactures of the Province and reduce the use of 
superfluities, long lists of which were enumer- 
ated. Committees were appointed everywhere 
to procure subscriptions to agreements looking 
to the furtherance of home industries and the 
disuse of foreign products. 

But while some were watchful, others were 
supine or indeed reactionary. Pending the op- 
eration of the non-consumption arrangements, 
which were not to go into effect until the end 
of the year, a general quiet prevailed, at which 
the friends of the home government felt great 
satisfaction. They declared that the " faction 
dared not show its face," and that " our incen- 
diaries seem discouraged," and in particular they 
took much hope from the course pursued by 
James Otis. He, on the 20th of November, in 
town-meeting, made a long speech on the side 
of the government, asserted the right of the 
king to appoint officers of customs in what num- 
ber and by what name he pleased, and declared 
it imprudent to oppose the new duties. Of the 
five commissioners of customs three had just ar- 
rived from England, the most important among 
them being Paxton, whose influence had been 


felt in the establishment of the board. Robin- 
son and Temple, the other members, were al- 
ready on the ground. In their early meetings, 
while the Province in general seemed quiet, and 
the voice of Otis in Faneuil Hall advocated a 
respectful treatment of the board and a com- 
pliance with the regulations they were to en- 
force, they had some reason to feel that in spite 
of the hot-headed boy, Quincy, and Samuel 
Adams with his impracticable non-consump- 
tion schemes, the task of the commissioners 
was likely to be an easy one. 

Before the full effects of the new legislation 
could be seen, Townshend suddenly died ; but 
in the new ministry that was presently formed 
Lord North came to the front, and adopted the 
policy of his predecessor, receiving in this 
course the firm support of the king, whose 
activity and . interest were so great in public 
affairs that he " became his own minister." As 
the business of the colonies grew every day 
more important, it was thought necessary at 
the end of the year to appoint a secretary of 
state for the American department. For this 
office Lord Hillsborough was named, who had 
been before at the head of the Board of Trade. 
The new official did not hesitate to adopt ag- 
gressive measures, granting, for his first act, to 
the many-functioned Hutchinson a pension of 


two hundred pounds, to be paid by the commis- 
sioners of customs, through which he became in 
a measure independent of the people. 

Of the three men now leaders of the Assem- 
bly, Hawley lived at a distance and was only 
occasionally in Boston, which became more 
and more the centre of influence. A certain 
excitability, moreover, which made him some- 
times over-sanguine and sometimes despondent, 
hurt his usefulness. Otis, sinking more and 
more into the power of the disease which in 
the end was to destroy him, grew each year 
more eccentric. Samuel Adams, always on the 
ground, always alert, steady, indefatigable, pos- 
sessing daily more and more the confidence of 
the Province, as he had before gained that of 
the town, became constantly more marked as, in 
loyalist parlance, the "chief incendiary." Just 
at this time, in the winter session of the leg- 
islature of 1767-68, he produced a series of re- 
markable papers, in which the advanced ground 
now occupied by the leaders was elaborately, 
firmly, and courteously stated. 

The first letter, adopted by the Assembly 
January 13, 1768, is to Dennys Deberdt, the 
agent of the Assembly in London, and intended 
of course to be made public. The different 
members of the ministry and the lords of the 
treasury were also addressed, and at last the 


king. There is no whisper in the documents 
of a desire for independence. 

" There is an English affection in the colonists to- 
wards the mother country, which will forever keep 
them connected with her to every valuable purpose, 
unless it shall be erased by repeated unkind usage on 
her part." 

The injustice of taxation without representa- 
tion is stated at length, the impossibility of a 
representation of the colonies in Parliament is 
dwelt upon, and a voluntary subsidy is men- 
tioned as the only proper and legal way in 
which the colonies should contribute to the 
imperial funds. The impropriety of giving sti- 
pends to governors and judges independent of 
the legislative grants is urged, and the griev- 
ance of the establishment of commissioners of 
customs with power to appoint placemen is as- 
sailed. No passage is more energetic than that 
in which the Puritan forefends the encroach- 
ments of prelacy. 

" The establishment of a Protestant episcopate in 
America is also very zealously contended for ; and it 
is very alarming to a people whose fathers, from the 
hardships they suffered under such an establishment, 
were obliged to fly their native country into a wilder- 
ness, in order peaceably to enjoy their privileges, 
civil and religious. Their being threatened with the 
loss of both at once must throw them into a disagree- 


able situation. We hope in God such an establish- 
ment will never take place in America, and we desire 
you would strenuously oppose it. The revenue raised 
in America, for aught we can tell, may be as consti- 
tutionally applied towards the support of prelacy as 
of soldiers and pensioners." 

As a final measure a " Circular Letter " was 
sent to " each House of Representatives or 
Burgesses on the Continent." 

The authorship of these documents has been 
claimed for Otis, the assertion being made that 
Adams was concerned with them only as his as- 
sistant. The claim is, however, quite untenable. 
In style and contents they reflect Adams, while 
they are in many points inconsistent with the 
manner and opinions of Otis. Aside from the 
strong internal evidence, the most satisfactory 
external proofs have been produced. Mrs. Han- 
nah Wells, the daughter of Samuel Adams, 
used to say that, when her father was busy 
with the composition of the petition to the 
king, she one day said to him, in girlish awe 
before the far-off mighty potentate, that the 
paper would doubtless be soon touched by the 
royal hand. " It will, my dear," he replied, 
"more likely be spurned by the royal foot." It 
is a significant anecdote as showing that he 
himself had little confidence that the effort of 
the Province would meet with favor. Though 


eminent statesmen had been personally ap- 
pealed to, and finally the king, the Assembly 
were careful to send no memorial to Parliament, 
not recognizing its right to interfere. 

Even more important than the documents 
sent abroad was the " Circular Letter " dis- 
patched by the Assembly to its sister bodies 
throughout America during the same session. 
When the measure was first proposed by Mr. 
Adams, there was a large majority against it, for 
the feeling in England against concerted action 
in the colonies was well known, and there was a 
disinclination to cause any unnecessary friction. 
In a fortnight, however, a complete change had 
been wrought, for the measure was carried 
triumphantly, the preceding action of the House 
being erased from the record. A few days af- 
ter, on February llth, the form of the letter 
was reported, again from the hand of Mr. Ad- 
ams. In it a statement was made of the expe- 
diency of providing for a uniform plan in the 
action of the different legislatures for remon- 
strances against the government policy, infor- 
mation was given as to the action of Massachu- 
setts, and communication was invited as to the 
measures of the rest. Great pains were taken 
to disclaim all thought of influencing others. 

" The House is fully satisfied that your Assembly is 
too generous and enlarged in sentiment to believe 


that this letter proceeds from an ambition of taking 
the lead or dictating to the other Assemblies. They 
freely submit their opinion to the judgment of others, 
and shall take it kind in your House to point out to 
them anything further that may be thought neces- 

The utmost care and tact were evidently 
believed to be in place, to avoid exciting jeal- 
ousy. The " Circular Letter " had a good re- 
ception from the various bodies to which it was 
addressed, and exasperated correspondingly the 
loyalists. The crown officers of Massachusetts 
sent energetic memorials to England ; Bernard 
in particular, besides detailing the new outrage, 
enlarged upon the older grievance, the deter- 
mination of the Assembly to exclude the crown 
officers from the Council. 

The same month of February was still further 
signalized by the coming forward into promi- 
nence of yet another of the protgs of Samuel 
Adams, perhaps the ablest and most interest- 
ing of all, Joseph Warren, who, although for 
some years a writer for the newspapers, now, at 
the age of twenty-seven, made for the first time 
a real sensation by a vehement arraignment of 
Bernard in the " Boston Gazette." The sen- 
sitive governor, touched to the quick by the 
diatribe, for such it was, and unable to induce 
the legislature to act in the matter, prorogued 


it ill a mood of exasperation not at all surpris- 
ing ; not, however, until a series of resolutions 
had been reported by a committee of which 
Otis and Adams were members, discouraging 
foreign importations and stimulating home in- 
dustries. These were passed with no dissenting 
voice but that of stalwart Timothy Ruggles, 
who, having honestly espoused the cause of 
king and Parliament, opposed himself now to 
the strong set of the popular current, careless 
of results to himself, with the same soldierly 
resolution he had brought to the aid of Aber- 
crombie and Sir Jeffrey Amherst in the hard 
fighting of the Old French War. 



IF we look back through the controversy that 
preceded the independence of America, the year 
1768 stands out as an important one. The 
adoption by the Assembly of Massachusetts of 
the state papers described in the preceding 
chapter signalized the opening of the year. 
These were presently after published together 
in England by that liberal-handed friend of 
America, Thomas Hollis, under the title, " The 
True Sentiments of America." They impressed 
profoundly public sentiment on both sides of 
the Atlantic. Events of commensurate im- 
portance presently followed, and the year was 
not to close without a marked increase in the 
estrangement between mother-land and colo- 

In Pennsylvania the " Farmer's Letters " of 
John Dickinson were meeting with wide ap- 
proval and quickly obtained circulation in the 
colonies in general. They were entirely in ac- 
cord with the Massachusetts utterances, and 


proved that, while Franklin was in England, 
he had left men behind in his Province well 
able to take care of the public welfare. Boston 
town-meeting, in the spring, appointed Samuel 
Adams, John Hancock, and Joseph Warren to 
express to Dickinson its thanks. Meantime 
though, as has been seen, the author of the 
papers of January had little hope that they 
would meet with a kind reception, the people 
were more sanguine, and looked for a good re- 
sult. Hillsborough, however, never presented 
the letter to the king. The government found 
nothing but unreasonable contumacy in the 
" True Sentiments of America." The " Circu- 
lar Letter " was regarded as distinctly seditious, 
and Bernard was required to demand of the leg- 
islature that it should be rescinded, under threat 
of constant prorogation until it should be done. 
To give emphasis to the government threat, 
General Gage, commander of the forces in 
America, with headquarters in New York, was 
ominously directed " to maintain the public 

A naval force also was dispatched to Boston, 
of which the first vessel to arrive was the fifty- 
gun ship Romney, which signalized its ap- 
proach from Halifax in May by impressing 
New England seamen from vessels met off the 
coast. Great ill-will existed between the peo- 


pie and the ship's crew, which burst into flame 
a few weeks after in the affair of the Liberty, 
a sloop owned by Hancock, which had broken 
the revenue laws. A serious riot came near re- 
sulting. The commissioners of customs, having 
in mind the Stamp Act riots four years before, 
took refuge at the Castle ; Bernard withdrew 
to his house in Roxbury; while the people 
thronged to to wn -meeting, which, as usual, 
when the numbers overflowed, flocked from 
Faneuil Hall to the Old South. As James 
Otis entered he was received with cheers and 
clapping of hands ; he was made moderator by 
acclamation, and presently was storming mag- 
nificently before the enthusiastic thousands. 
No alarming result, however, followed. Ber- 
nard, reasonably somewhat anxious at Roxbury, 
with scarcely a man to rely on if force should 
be used, heard at last that the emissaries of the 
people were coming. It must have been with 
much relief that he saw presently a quiet pro- 
cession of eleven chaises draw up before his 
door, from which alighted two-and-twenty citi- 
zens, with a member of his Council at their 
head, and Otis and Samuel Adams among the 
number. A representation of grievances was 
made in decided but temperate terms ; chief of 
all, the demand was urged that the Romney 
should be removed from the harbor. 


" I received them," wrote Bernard, " with all 
possible civility, and having heard their petition I 
talked with them very freely upon the subject, but 
postponed giving them a final answer until the next 
day, as it should be in writing. I then had wine 
handed around, and they left me highly pleased with 
their reception." 

Bernard declared that he had no authority 
to remove the Romney, and the matter rested 
there, the crown officials, not unreasonably, 
pressing more urgently than ever for a body of 
troops for their protection. The disturbance 
had, to be sure, proved slight, but it might 
easily have become a grave affair. In the in- 
structions of the town to the representatives, 
adopted in May, written by John Adams, now 
resident in Boston, Hutchinson calls attention 
to a significant attenuation of the usual loyal 

" They declare a reverence and due subordination 
to the British Parliament, as the supreme legislative, 
in all cases of necessity for the preservation of the 
whole empire. This is a singular manner of express- 
ing the authority of Parliament." 

The whole continent had approved the " Cir- 
cular Letter." Connecticut, New Jersey, Geor- 
gia, and Virginia had responded, which caused 
Samuel Adams to exclaim in terms which he 
afterwards used on a still more memorable oc- 


casion, " This is a glorious day ! " When the 
demand that the " Circular Letter " should be 
rescinded became known to the Assembly, 
through a message from Bernard in which a 
letter from Hillsborough was quoted, a letter 
written by Samuel Adams was twice read and 
twice accepted, by a vote of ninety-two to thir- 
teen, and ordered to be sent to Hillsborough 
by the first opportunity, without imparting its 
contents to the governor or the public. The 
letter closes with the hope that "to acquaint 
their fellow-subjects involved in the same dis- 
tress of their having invited the union of all 
America in one joint supplication, would not 
be discountenanced by our gracious sovereign 
as a measure of an inflammatory nature/' 

The letter was sent by the first conveyance. 
Mr. Adams withheld it from publication as long 
as he considered that the public interests were 
subserved by so doing ; then he resolved to 
have it printed in the " Boston Gazette." Ber- 
nard thus relates a scene reported to him : 

" This morning the two consuls of the faction 
Otis and Adams had a dispute upon it in the rep- 
resentatives' room, where the papers of the house 
are kept, which I shall write as a dialogue to save 
paper : 

" Otis. What are you going to do with the let- 
ter to Lord Hillsborough ? 


" Adams. To give it to the printer to publish 
next Monday. 

"Otis. Do you think it proper to publish it so 
soon, that he may receive a printed copy before the 
original comes to his hand ? 

" Adams. What signifies that ? You know it 
was designed for the people, and not for the minis- 

" Otis. You are so fond of your own drafts that 
you can't wait for the publication of them to a proper 

" Adams. I am clerk of this house, and I will 
make that use of the papers which I please. 

" I had this," continues the governor, " from a 
gentleman of the first rank, who I understood was 

On the day of the adoption of the letter to 
Hillsborough, the House considered also the 
question of rescinding, which was promptly de- 
cided in the negative by a vote of ninety-two 
to seventeen. Addressing the governor, still 
by the hand of Samuel Adams, they declared : 

" The Circular Letters have been sent arid many 
of them have been answered ; those answers are now 
in the public papers ; the public, the world, must 
and will judge of the proposals, purposes, and an- 
swers. We could as well rescind those letters as the 
resolves ; and both would be equally fruitless if by 
rescinding, as the word properly imports, is meant a 
repeal and nullifying the resolution referred to." 


Immediately upon this action, Bernard, as 
required, prorogued the Assembly, but not un- 
til a committee had been appointed to prepare 
a petition praying " that his majesty would be 
graciously pleased to remove his excellency, 
Francis Bernard, from the government of the 
Province." Adams justly looked upon the per- 
sistence of the Assembly in this matter as an 
important triumph, and often referred to it in 
times when the people's cause was depressed, 
during the years that were coming, to invigo- 
rate the spirit of his party. Since the governor 
had been directed to prorogue the Assembly 
as often as it should come together, until the 
41 Circular Letter " should be rescinded, Massa- 
chusetts in July, 1768, had practically no leg- 
islature. The colonies in general approved the 
stand of that Province, and the necessity of 
union began to be felt. 

In the democracy of Boston, Samuel Adams, 
among the leaders, was especially the favorite 
of the mechanics and laborers. His popularity 
was particularly marked in the ship-yards, the 
craftsmen in which exercised a great influence. 
His own poverty, plain clothes, and careless- 
ness as to ceremony and display, caused them 
to feel that he was more nearly on a level with 
themselves than Bowdoin, Gushing, Otis, or 
Hancock, who through wealth or distinguished 


connections were led to affiliate with the rich 
and high-placed. Though the legislature could 
not convene, the restless patriot could find 
his opportunity in the town-meetings ; and if 
they were infrequent, he puured himself into 
the newspapers. Constant, too, were the ha- 
rangues which he delivered in his intercourse 
with the townsmen, sitting side by side with 
some ship - carpenter on a block of oak, just 
above the tide, or with some shop-keeper in a 
fence corner sheltered from the wind. Most 
of his writing was done in a study adjoining his 
bed-room in the Purchase Street house. His 
wife used to tell how she was accustomed to 
listen to the incessant motion of his pen, the 
light of his solitary lamp being dimly visible. 
Passers in the street would often see, long after 
midnight, the light from his well-known win- 
dow, and " knew that Sam Adams was hard 
at work writing against the Tories." Of his 
ways, as he moved about in his daily walks, 
some graphic hints are given in an affidavit 
which was taken at a time when an effort was 
made to collect evidence against him. Under 
a statute of the reign of Henry VIII., which 
had been produced from under the dust of cen- 
turies, subjects could be taken from foreign 
parts to England, to be tried for treason. A 
great desire was felt by the government party 


to make out a case against Samuel Adams suf- 
ficiently strong to justify such deportation. 
The project was abandoned, but the following 
curious memorial of the attempt is still pre- 
served in the London state-paper office : 

" The information of Richard Sylvester of Boston, 
inn-holder, taken before me, Thomas Hutchinson, 
Esq., chief justice of said province, this twenty-third 
of January, in the ninth year of his Majesty's reign : 

" This informant sayeth that the day after the boat 
belonging to Mr. Harrison was burnt, the last sum- 
mer, the informant observed several parties of men 
gathered in the street at the south end of the town 
of Boston, in the forenoon of the day. The inform- 
ant went up to one of the parties, and Mr. Samuel 
Adams, then one of the representatives of Boston, 
happened to join the same party near about the same 
time, trembling and in great agitation. 1 The party 
consisted of about seven in number, who were un- 
known to the informant, he having but little acquaint- 
ance with the inhabitants, or, if any of them were 
known, he cannot now recollect them. The inform- 
ant heard the said Samuel Adams then say to the 
said party, * If you are men, behave like men. Let 
us take up arms immediately, and be free, and seize 
all the king's officers. We shall have thirty thou- 
sand men to join us from the country/ The inform- 
ant then walked off, believing his company was dis- 

1 The constitutional tremulousness of hand and voice com- 
mon to Mr. Adams is elsewhere described. 


agreeable. The informant further sayeth, that after 
the burning of the boat aforesaid, and before the ar- 
rival of the troops, the said Samuel Adams has been 
divers times at the house of the informant, and at 
one of those times particularly the informant began a 
discourse concerning the times ; and the said Sam- 
uel Adams said : * We will not submit to any tax, 
nor become slaves. We will take up arms, and 
spend our last drop of blood before the king and 
Parliament shall impose on us, and settle crown offi- 
cers in this country to dragoon us. The country was 
first settled by our ancestors, therefore we are free 
and want no king. The times were never better in 
Rome than when they had no king and were a free 
state ; and as this is a great empire, we shall have it 
in our power to give laws to England.' The inform- 
ant further eayeth, that, at divers times between the 
burning of the boat aforesaid and the arrival of the 
troops aforesaid, he has heard the said Adams ex- 
press himself in words to very much the same pur- 
pose, and that the informant's wife has sometimes 
been present, and at one or more of such times 
George Mason of Boston, painter, was present. The 
informant further sayeth, that about a fortnight be- 
fore the troops arrived, the aforesaid Samuel Adams 
being at the house of the informant, the informant 
asked him what he thought of the times. The said 
Adams answered, with great alertness, that, on light- 
ing the beacon, we should be joined with thirty thou- 
sand men from the country with their knapsacks and 
bayonets fixed, and added, ' We will destroy every sol- 


dier that dare put his foot on shore. His majesty has 
no right to send troops here to invade the country, 
and I look upon them as foreign enemies ! ' This in- 
formant further sayeth, that two or three days before 
the troops arrived, the said Samuel Adams said to 
the informant, that Governor Bernard and Mr. Hutch- 
inson and the commissioners of the customs had sent 
for troops, and the said Adams made bitter exclama- 
tions against them for so doing, and also repeated 
most of the language about opposing the king's 
troops, which he had used as above mentioned about 
a fortnight before. The informant contradicted the 
said Samuel Adams, and attributed the sending troops 
to the resolve of the General Court and the proceed- 
ings of the town-meeting. 

" Sworn to: T. Hutchinson." 

The steps taken in America had only 
strengthened the determination of the govern- 
ment to break the spirit of the colonists. Not 
only was the project entertained of sending 
Samuel Adams and other leaders to England 
for trial, but town-meetings were to be forbid- 
den, and an armed force, consisting of two reg- 
iments and a frigate, was to be sent at once to 
Boston. Samuel Adams afterward said that 
from this time he dismissed all thought of 
reconciliation, and looked forward to, and la- 
bored for, independence. Hutchinson declares 
that Adams's efforts for independence began as 


early as 1765. It is well established, at any 
rate, that though the vague dream of a great 
independent American state, some time to exist, 
had now and then found expression, Samuel 
Adams, first of men, saw clearly that the time 
for it had come in the critical period of the reign 
of George III., and secretly began his labors for 
it. Up to the year we have reached, indeed, 
and possibly afterwards, documents which he 
prepared contain loyal expressions, and some- 
times seem to disclaim the wish or thought of 
ever severing the connection with the mother 
country. His Tory contemporaries found great 
duplicity in Mr. Adams's conduct. He himself 
would, no doubt, have said that when he dis- 
claimed the thought of independence he spoke 
for others, the bodies namely which employed 
his hand to express their conclusions, that he 
could not be and was not bound in such cases to 
speak his own private views. It must be con- 
fessed that some casuistry is necessary now and 
then to make the conduct of Samuel Adams 
here square with the absolute right. An ad- 
vocate, whose sense of honor is nice, hesitates 
to screen a criminal of whose guilt he is con- 
vinced, by any reticence as to his own views. A 
newspaper writer of the highest character will 
refuse to postpone his own sentiments, while he 
expresses the differing sentiments adopted by 


the journal which employs him. One wonders 
if the puritan conscience of Samuel Adams did 
not now and then feel a twinge, when at the 
very time in which he had devoted himself, 
body and soul, to breaking the link that bound 
America to England, he was coining for this 
or that body phrases full of reverence for the 
king and rejecting the thought of independence. 
The fact was, he could employ upon occasion a 
certain fox-like shrewdness, which did not al- 
ways scrutinize the means over narrowly, while 
he pushed on for the great end. Before our 
story is finished other instances of wily and de- 
vious management will come under our notice, 
which a proper plumb-line will prove to be not 
quite in the perpendicular. Bold, unselfish, 
unmistakably pious as he was, the Achilles of 
independence was still held by the heel when 
he was dipped. 

In September, the Senegal and Duke of 
Cumberland, ships of the fleet, set sail from 
the harbor, and Bernard caused the rumor to 
be spread abroad that they were going for 
troops. A town-meeting was summoned, and 
Bernard, apprehending insurrection, caused the 
beacon on Beacon Hill to be so far dismantled 
that signals could not be sent to the surround- 
ing country. At the meeting, over which Otis 
presided, four hundred muskets lay on the floor 


of Faneuil Hall. A committee, of which Sam- 
uel Adams was a member, was appointed to in- 
quire of the governor as to his reasons for expect- 
ing the troops, and to request him to convoke a 
general Assembly. Bernard refused, which con- 
duct the committee reported to an adjourned 
meeting on the day following, when a spirited 
declaration was made by the town of its pur- 
pose to defend its rights. The governor de- 
scribed the meeting to Hillsborough in these 
terms : 

" An old man protested against everything but ris- 
ing immediately, and taking all power into their own 
hands. One man, very profligate and abandoned, 
argued for massacring their enemies. His argument 
was, in short, liberty is as precious as life ; if a man 
attempts to take my life, I have a right to take his ; 
ergo, if a man attempts to take away my liberty, I 
have a right to take his life. He also argued, that 
when a people's liberties were threatened, they were 
in a state of war, and had a right to defend them- 
selves ; and he carried these arguments so far, that 
his own party were obliged to silence him." 

For the leaders there was plainly work to be 
done in the way of restraining as well as stim- 
ulating. The policy decided upon was bold, 
but not without precedent. Since the governor 
refused to convene the legislature, the town- 
meeting of Boston resolved to call a convention 


of the towns of the Province, by their represen- 
tatives, as had been done in 1688, choosing at 
the same time Gushing, Otis, Samuel Adams, 
and Hancock as their own delegates. Every 
inhabitant also was exhorted to provide himself 
with arms and ammunition, on the pretext that 
a war with France was impending. At once, 
on September 22d, the convention assembled ; 
ninety-six towns and four districts sent deputies. 
It was much embarrassed during the first three 
days of its sitting by the unaccountable absence 
of Otis, whose importance was so great that, 
however strange his freaks might be, his pres- 
ence could riot be dispensed with. The gov- 
ernment party regarded this convention as the 
most revolutionary measure yet undertaken ; 
Bernard declared it to be illegal, and solemnly 
warned it to disperse. The temper of the body, 
however, was somewhat reactionary, the coun- 
try members in particular holding back from 
the course to which the u Bostoneers " would 
have committed them. Adams, who was al- 
ways in advance, was little pleased. His daugh- 
ter remembered afterwards that he exclaimed : 
"I am in fashion and out of fashion, as the 
whim goes. I will stand alone. I will oppose 
this tyranny at the threshold, though the fabric 
of liberty fall and I perish in its ruins." The 
petition of the preceding legislature to the king, 


however, and a letter to Deberdt, also written 
by Adams, both which papers were manly and 
strong, were adopted. The great end gained 
was in the way of habituating the people to 
coming together in other than the established 
ways ; and the precedent was found useful in 
the times that were approaching. 

On the very day that the convention ad- 
journed, after a session of a week, there arrived 
from Halifax the 14th and 29th regiments, 
which have come down in history, following 
the designation of Lord North, as the " Sam 
Adams regiments," for reasons which will 
abundantly appear. While the ships which 
brought them lay close at hand in the harbor 
in a position to command the town, the regi- 
ments after landing marched with all possible 
pomp from Long Wharf to the Common, 
where they paraded, each soldier having in his 
cartridge-box sixteen rounds, as if entering an 
enemy's country. The 29th regiment en- 
camped on the Common, but the 14th was 
quartered in Faneuil Hall, Bernard insisting 
that both should be in the body of the town. 
Samuel Adams wrote the next week to De- 
berdt : 

" The inhabitants preserve their peace and quiet- 
ness. However, they are resolved not to pay their 
money without their own consent, and are more than 



ever determined -to relinquish every article, however 
dear, that comes from Britain. May God preserve 
the nation from being greatly injured, if not finally 
ruined, by the vile ministrations of wicked men in 
America ! " 



THE troops had arrived, and it is absurd to 
think that Bernard and the crown officers had 
no reason on their side in demanding them. 
With three quarters of the people of the Prov- 
ince, as shown by the composition of the As- 
sembly, directly hostile to the government pol< 
icy, and in Boston a still larger proportion in 
opposition, with the upper house of the legisla- 
ture through its constitution scarcely less in 
sympathy with the people than the lower, the 
governor had no support in his honest efforts 
to maintain the parliamentary supremacy, un- 
less he could have the regiments. That the 
commissioners of the customs had been foolish 
and cowardly in fleeing with their families to 
the Castle after the affair of the Liberty, it is 
quite wrong to assert. They were unquestion- 
ably in danger and had no means of defending 
themselves. The unpopular laws which they 
were expected to administer could only be car- 
ried out under protection of a military force. 


When General Gage came on from New 
5Tork to demand quarters for the regiments, the 
Council refused to grant them until the bar- 
racks at the Castle were filled, which was re- 
quired by the letter of the law. The main 
guard was finally established opposite the State 
House in King Street, with the cannon pointed 
toward the door, while the troops were housed 
in buildings hired by their commander, the at- 
tempt to obtain possession of a ruinous building 
belonging to the Province being foiled by its 
occupants, who were backed by town and coun- 
try in refusing to vacate. 

The troops presented a formidable appear- 
ance as they marched through the streets and 
paraded on the Common. However objection- 
able in actual service, for imposing display all 
who are familiar with armies must admit that 
nothing is equal to the British scarlet, when 
spread out over ranks well filled and drilled, 
with the glitter of bayonets above the mass of 
superb color. The Tories took great heart. 
Good-natured Dr. Byles congratulated the pa- 
triots because their grievances were at length 
redressed [red-dressed], and Hutchinson wrote 
cheerful letters. The people were at first quiet 
and orderly, but by no means cowed ; and when 
familiarity at length had bred its usual conse- 
quence, a threatening turbulence appeared. A 


crowd of abandoned women followed the troops 
from Halifax, many of whom before long be- 
came inmates of the almshouses. Before a 
month had passed, forty men had deserted, and 
one who was recovered was summarily shot. 
The town, moreover, was shocked by the flog- 
ging of troops, which was administered by negro 
drummers in public on the Common. Strangely 
enough, Samuel Adams was once appealed to 
by the wife of a soldier sentenced to receive a 
number of lashes almost sufficient to kill him. 
How the poor creature could have formed the 
idea that the arch rebel would have influence 
with the commanders it is hard to say. He 
made the effort, however, and the interven- 
tion was successful, in the hope, his daughter 
surmises, who tells the story, that the conces- 
sion would pave the way for conciliatory over- 
tures, with which he was afterwards approached. 
Through policy, and no doubt also through hu- 
mane inclination, occasions of friction between 
soldiers and townsmen were avoided as far as 
possible by the commanders ; the legal restric- 
tion was fully recognized, that the troops could 
not be employed except upon the requisition of 
a civil magistrate. 

Some amusing traditions have come down as 
to the extent to which non-interference was 
pursued. At a legal inquiry, a soldier, who 


had been on duty, was said to have been thus 
interrogated : 

"The sentinel being asked whether he was on 
guard at the time, he answered Yes. Whether he 
saw any person break into Mr. Grey's house ? Yes. 
Whether he said anything to them ? No. Why 
he did not ? Because he had orders to challenge 
nobody. Whether he looked upon them to be thieves ? 
Yes. Why he did not make an alarm and cause 
them to be secured ? Because he had orders to do 
nothing which might deprive any man of his lib- 
erty ! " 

This story is perhaps an invention, but the 
policy which ifc parodies was real. Occasions 
of offense were avoided ; a good discipline was 
maintained, ajid the collisions which at length 
came to pass grew rather out of the aggressions 
of the townsmen than from the conduct of the 

As the fall and winter proceeded, we find 
Samuel Adams busy in the newspapers, among 
which his principal organ was the " Boston 
Gazette," whose bold proprietors, Edes & Gill, 
made their sheet the voice of the patriot sen- 
timent and gave their office also to be a rally- 
ing-point for the popular leaders. Adams's 
signatures at this time are significant : " Obsta 
principiis," "Arma cedant togse," and u Vin- 
dex." Through him the popular ideas find 


expression. He shows the illegality and use- 
lessness of billeting troops. He assails the com- 
missioners of customs, who, having returned 
from the Castle, and been censured by the 
Council because "they had no just reason for 
absconding from their duty," had taken up 
their quarters in Queen Street. He considers 
the arguments of the opponents of America in 
Parliament, and upon this latter theme is par- 
ticularly wise and forcible. The following let- 
ter he contributed, as " Vindex," to the " Boston 
Gazette " of December 19, 1768, and it would 
perhaps be impossible to find a better illustra- 
tion of the superior political sense of the New 
Englanders, trained in town-meeting, as com- 
pared with their contemporaries in England. 
Speaking of a certain just claim of the col- 
onies, he says : 

" I know very well that some of the late contenders 
for a right in the British Parliament to tax Ameri- 
cans who are not, and cannot be, represented there, 
have denied this. When pressed with that funda- 
mental principle of nature and the Constitution, that 
what is a man's own is absolutely his own, and that no 
man can have a right to take it from him without his 
consent, they have alleged, and would fain have us 
believe, that by far the greater part of the people in 
Britain are excluded the right of chusing their rep- 
resentatives, and yet are taxed ; and therefore that 


they are taxed without their consent. Had not this 
doctrine been repeatedly urged, I should have thought 
the bare mentioning it would have opened the eyes of 
the people there to have seen where their pretended 
advocates were leading them : that in order to estab- 
lish a right in the people in England to enslave the 
Colonists under a plausible shew of great zeal for the 
honor of the nation, they are driven to a bold asser- 
tion, at all adventures, that truly the greater part of 
the nation are themselves subject to the same yoke 
of bondage. What else is it but saying that the 
greater part of the people in Britain are slaves ? 
For if the fruit of all their toil and industry depends 
upon so precarious a tenure as the will of a few, what 
security have they for the utmost farthing ? What 
are they but slaves, delving with the sweat of their 
brows, riot for the benefit of themselves, but their 
masters ? After all the fine things that have been 
said of the British Constitution, and the boasted free- 
dom and happiness of the subjects who live under it, 
will they thank these modern writers, these zealous 
assertors of the honor of the nation, for reducing 
them to a state inferior to that of indented servants, 
who generally contract for a maintenance, at least, for 
their labor ? " J 

In Parliament, the American cause was by no 
means without friends and advocates, among 
whom the conspicuous figure was now Edmund 

1 In most of the extracts given, punctuation, spelling, cap- 
itals, and italics follow those of the originals, as they stand in 
the old newspapers or the manuscripts. 


Burke. Even Grenville declared that the order 
requiring the rescinding of the Circular Letter 
was illegal. Lord North, however, in Novem- 
ber was " determined to see America at the 
king's feet ; " he led the ministry, and through 
both houses England pledged itself to maintain 
entire and inviolate the supreme authority of 
the legislature of Great Britain over every part 
of the empire. Hillsborough introduced reso- 
lutions in the House of Lords condemning the 
legislature of Massachusetts and the Septem- 
ber convention, approving the sending of the 
military force, and preparing changes in the 
charter of the Province which would lessen 
the popular power. Through the Duke of Bed- 
ford steps were taken toward bringing "the 
chief authors and instigators " to trial for trea- 
son, and yet the riots at this time in England 
were beyond comparison greater and more 
threatening than any disturbances in the col- 
onies. Obstacles, however, were found to bring- 
ing these men to trial. It was declared by the 
attorney and solicitor-general to be impossible, 
from the evidence furnished, to make out a 
case of treason against Samuel Adams or any 
other person named. The straits to which the 
trade of England had been brought, through 
the course pursued by the colonies, produced 
at length an effect greater than any remon- 


strances. The tax upon glass, paper, and paint- 
ers' colors was taken off; it was, however, al- 
lowed to remain on the one article, tea. 

In the mean time, in Boston, the controversy 
was fast and furious. Of the half-dozen news- 
papers, the " Massachusetts Gazette," also 
known as " Draper's " and the " Court Gazette," 
was the usual organ of the administration, as 
the " Boston Gazette " was of the popular lead- 
ers, though other sheets as well teemed with 
combative periods. The government writers, 
among whom were some of the commissioners 
of customs, received liberal pay. On the pop- 
ular side Samuel Adams was the writer most 
forcible and prolific, and his contributions went 
also to newspapers at a distance. The follow- 
ing extract is taken from an appeal to the Sons 
of Liberty, prepared on the anniversary of the 
repeal of the Stamp Act, and found posted on 
the Liberty Tree in Providence, R. I., on the 
morning of the 18th of March, 1769. It ap- 
peared the same morning in the "Providence 
Gazette," and afterward in the " Boston Ga- 
zette." It is the closing paragraph of the ap- 
peal, and remarkable from the significant words 
at the end. It is the first instance, perhaps, 
where Samuel Adams in any public way hints 
at independence as the probable issue of the 


" When I consider the corruption of Great Britain, 

their load of debt, their intestine divisions, tu- 
mults, and riots, their scarcity of provisions, and 
the Contempt in which they are held by the nations 
about them ; and when I consider, on the other 
Hand, the State of the American Colonies with Re- 
gard to the various Climates, Soils, Produce, rapid 
Population, joined to the virtue of the Inhabitants, 

I cannot but think that the Conduct of Old Eng- 
land towards us may be permitted by Divine Wisdom, 
and ordained by the unsearchable providence of the 
Almighty, for hastening a period dreadful to Great 

"PROVIDENCE, March 18th, 1769." 

Great efforts were made to obtain circulation 
for the Tory papers (for now the terms Tory and 
Whig, borrowed from England, had come into 
vogue) ; but they had no popular favor as com- 
pared with the u Boston Gazette." Hutchinson 
declared that seven eighths of the people read 
none but this, and so were never undeceived. 
The site of the office of Edes & Gill, in Court 
Street, is really one of the memorable spots of 
Boston. Here very frequently met Warren, 
Otis, Quincy, John Adams, Church, and patri- 
ots scarcely less conspicuous. In those groups 
Samuel Adams becomes constantly more and 
more the eminent figure. Here they read the 
exchanges, corrected the proof of their contri- 


butions, strengthened one another by the inter- 
change of ideas, and planned some of the most 
remarkable measures in the course to independ- 
ence. At this time, also, Samuel Adams's con- 
troversial pen found other subjects than British 
machinations. His friend, Dr. Chauncy, becom- 
ing concerned in a sharp dispute with Seabury, 
afterwards the first bishop of the American 
Episcopal Church, Adams smote the prelatical 
adversary with a true Roundhead cudgel. To 
such as Seabury he was uncompromisingly hos- 
tile till the day of his death, though on one 
remarkable occasion hereafter to be mentioned 
he postponed his prejudice to secure a certain 
ulterior end. For Mr. Seabury's cloth at this 
time he shows little respect, declaring that "he 
had managed his cause with the heart, though 
he had evidently discovered that he wanted the 
head, of a Jesuit." 

Massachusetts had been nearly a year with- 
out a legislature, when in May, 1769, the gov- 
ernor issued a summons for a meeting. Otis, 
Gushing, Samuel Adams, and Hancock were 
elected almost unanimously in town-meeting, 
and forthwith "instructed," by the hand of 
John Adams, in the most determined manner. 
The Assembly, as soon as the members were 
sworn, neglecting the usual preliminary, the 
election of the clerk, who then superintended 


the election of the speaker, adopted a remon- 
strance prepared by Samuel Adams, demand- 
ing the removal of the troops. When Bernard 
alleged that the power did not lie with him, 
a committee, of which Samuel Adams was a 
member, declared in answer to the assertion : 

" That the king was the supreme executive power 
through all parts of the British empire, and that the 
governor of the Province, being the king's lieutenant 
and captain-general and eommander-m-chief, it indu- 
bitably follows that all officers, civil and military, 
within the colony are subject to his Excellency." 

In adopting the report the Assembly declined 
to proceed to business under military duress, 
upon which Bernard adjourned them to Cam- 
bridge, urging that in that place the objection 
would be removed. The Assembly went to 
Cambridge, although, in 1728, the power of the 
governor to convene the legislature elsewhere 
than in Boston had been denied. They went, 
however, under protest, and when in the suc- 
ceeding administration they were again and 
again convened at Cambridge, a sharp contro- 
versy resulted, with which we shall presently 
be concerned. When the governor urged them 
to hasten their proceedings in order to save 
time and money, the house replied by Samuel 
Adams : 


" No time can be better employed than in the pres- 
ervation of the rights derived from the British Con- 
stitution, and insisting upon points which, though your 
Excellency may consider them as non-essential, we 
esteem its best bulwarks. No treasure can be better 
expended than in securing that true old English lib- 
erty which gives a relish to every other enjoyment." 

News reached Massachusetts of the bold re- 
solves of the Virginia House of Burgesses of 
this year. " The committee on the state of the 
Province," of which Mr. Adams was a member, 
at once reported resolutions embodying those 
of Virginia in so f;ir as they related to taxation, 
intercolonial correspondence, and trial by jury 
of the vicinage. They went back to the " Mas- 
sachusetts Resolves " of 1765, and made so def- 
inite an expression of the claims of the patriots 
that Hutchinson declared " no such full decla- 
ration had ever before been made, that no laws 
made by any authority in which the people had 
not their representatives could be obligatory 
on them." Two additional regiments had come 
in the spring to Boston, which, being judged 
quite unnecessary, had been ordered to Halifax. 
One had already sailed, and the other was about 
to embark, when the new resolutions appeared 
in the " Boston Gazette." Then the regiment 
was detained ; for the government felt that the 
declarations were more pronounced in their re- 


bellious tone than any that had yet been made. 
At this the Assembly took alarm, and although 
the resolves had passed in a full house unani- 
mously, one hundred and nine being present, 
it was voted to modify them. This was done 
in spite of the more zealous spirits. The regi- 
ment then departed, leaving behind the original 
force, the 14th and 29th, which were now fast 
nearing an hour destined to bestow upon them 
a somewhat unenviable immortality in the his- 
tory of America. 

Another noteworthy incident in this animated 
session was the demand by Bernard, in accord- 
ance with the terms of the Billeting Act, by 
which the troops had been quartered on the 
town, of a sum to defray the expenses of the 
troops. Samuel Adams, speaking for his com- 
mittee, showed at length the conflict of the de- 
mand with the chartered rights of the Province, 
ending with the declaration : 

" Your Excellency must therefore excuse us in this 
express declaration, that as we cannot consistently 
with our honor or interest, and much less with the 
duty we owe our constituents, so we shall never make 
provision for the purposes in your several messages 
above mentioned." 

But the career of Francis Bernard in Amer 
ica had now reached its close. The petitions 
for his removal that had been sent from the 


Province had probably little effect in producing 
this result ; but the merchants of England, 
alarmed at the non-importation agreements in 
the colonies and selfishly anxious to stem, if 
possible, the disaffection that was beginning to 
tell with such effect on their pockets, made rep- 
resentations that were heeded. While retain- 
ing his office, he was summoned to England, 
ostensibly to help the government witli infor- 
mation and advice ; and, as a mark of the ap- 
proval with which the king and ministry re- 
garded his course, he was made a baronet under 
the title of Sir Francis Bernard of Nettleham. 
His demand from the legislature of a grant for 
the salary during the year to come, made under 
instruction from the king, was sufficiently legal, 
inasmuch as he remained governor and was to 
serve, according to his own ideas, the interests 
of the Province. Half the salary, moreover, 
was to be paid to the lieutenant-governor. But 
the General Court scornfully refused the de- 
mand. It was prorogued early in July " to the 
usual time for its meeting for the winter ses- 
sion/' and on the last day of the month Sir 
Francis sailed for England. The clay of his 
departure was made a public gala-day. Flags 
were hoisted, the bells sounded from the stee- 
ples, cannon roared from the wharves, and on 
Fort Hill blazed a great bonfire. For more 


than a year he retained in England the title of 
governor of Massachusetts Bay. Samuel Ad- 
ams, in the "Boston Gazette," May 1st, thus 
mocked the outgoing magistrate : 

"Your promotion, sir, reflects an honor on the 
Province itself ; an honor which has never been con- 
ferr'd upon it since the thrice-happy administration of 
Sir Edmond Andross of precious memory, who was 
also a baronet ; nor have the unremitted Endeavors 
of that very amiable and truly patriotick Gentleman 
to render the most substantial and lasting services to 
this people, upon the plan of a wise and uucorrupt 

set of m rs, been ever parallelled till since you 

adorned the ch r. . . . Pity it is that you have not 
a pension to support your title. But an Assembly 
well chosen may supply that want even to your wish. 
Should this fail, a late letter, said to have strongly 
recommended a tax upon the improved LANDS of the 
Colonies, may be equally successful with the other 
letters of the like nature, and funds sufficient may be 
rais'd for the Use and Emolument of yourself and 
friends, without a Dependence upon a ' military estab- 
lishment supported by the Province at Castle Wil- 

u I am, sir, with the most profound respect, and 
with the sincerest Wishes for your further Exaltation, 
the most servile of all your tools. A TORY." 

Francis Bernard was an honorable and well- 
meaning man, and by no means wanting in 
ability. As with the English country gen- 


tlemen in the eighteenth century, in general, 
the traditions of English freedom had become 
much obscured in his mind. He leaned toward 
prerogative, not popular liberty, and honestly 
felt that the New Englanders were disposed 
to run to extremes that would ruin America 
and injure the whole empire. Where among 
the rural squires or the Oxford scholars of the 
time can be found any who took a different 
view? This being his position, no one can 
deny that during the nine years of his incum- 
bency he fought his difficult fight with courage, 
persistency, and honesty. He leaned as far as 
such a man could be expected to lean toward 
the popular side, showing wisdom in 1763 and 
1764, as we have seen, in trying to procure a 
lowering or abolition of the duties in the Sugar 
Act, and regarding the Stamp Act as most in- 
expedient. The best friends of America in Par- 
liament, like Lord Camden, extolled in strong 
terms his character and good judgment. His 
refined tastes and good dispositions were shown 
in his interest in Harvard College. After the 
fire of 1764, he did what he could from his own 
library to make good the loss of the books 
which had been burned ; certainly the alumnus 
in whose youthful associations the plain but not 
ungraceful proportions of Harvard Hall have 
become intimately bound may have a kind 


thought for its well-meaning and much ma- 
ligned architect. The accusations of under- 
hand dealing that were brought against him 
will not bear examination. 

Bollan, agent in England of the Massachu- 
setts Council, obtained from Beckford, a liberal 
member of Parliament, copies of six letters, 
written by Bernard to influence parliamentary 
action in November and December, 1768. The 
letters contain estimates of public characters, 
an account of events in Massachusetts, and pro- 
posals of certain changes in the charter. When 
sent to America these papers aroused great in- 
dignation. They were felt to be so important 
that, despite Sabbatarian scruples, they were 
considered by the Council on Sunday. The ut- 
most wrath was poured out upon their author. 
Yet really the letters contain nothing more than 
views which Bernard had made no secret of. 
That he was profoundly dissatisfied with the 
constitution of the colonies and desired changes, 
every one knew. What opinion he had of his 
active opponents and their measures was no 
secret. He did them no more justice than they 
did him. The changes he advocated were that 
the provincial governments should be brought 
to a uniform type ; the Assemblies he would 
have remain popular, as before ; but for the 
Council, or upper house, he recommended a 


body made up of a kind of life peers, appointed 
directly by the king. He recommended, also, 
that there should be a fixed civil list from 
which the king's officers should derive a certain 
provision, declaring that in the existing state 
of things it was impossible to enforce in the 
colonies any unpopular law or punish any out- 
rage favored by the people, since civil officers 
were mainly dependent on annual grants from 
the Assembly. For a prerogative man, such 
views were not unreasonable ; certainly Ber- 
nard had made no pretense of holding others. 
He was, however, bitterly denounced and in- 

As the Baronet of Nettleham was borne out 
to sea that quiet summer evening, amid the peal- 
ing bells, the salvos of cannon, and the glare of 
the great bonfire on Fort Hill, the populace of 
Boston, as it were, shouted after him their con- 
tumely. Fine Shakespearean scholar that he 
was, one may well believe that the bitter out- 
bursts of Coriolanus against the common cry 
of curs, whose breath was hateful as the reek 
of rotten fens, rose to the lips of the aristocrat. 
Neither side could do justice to the other. The 
student of history knows well that mutual jus- 
tice and forbearance are in such cases not to be 
expected. They were the fighters in a fierce 
conflict, and of necessity bad blood was engen- 


dered. A different tone, however, may be de- 
manded at the present time. When a writer, 
after the lapse of a hundred years, declares, 
" He displayed his malignity to the last, and 
having done his best to ruin the Province, and 
to reap all possible benefit from its destruction, 
took his departure," 1 one feels that a well-mean- 
ing man is pursued quite too far, and the desire 
for fair play suggests the propriety of a word 
or two in his favor. 

1 Wells, S. Adams, i. 266. 



BERNARD had gone, and in his place stood 
Thomas Hutchinson. For the next two years 
he remained lieutenant-governor, but to all in- 
tents and purposes he was chief magistrate, 
in which position he remained until the king 
found no way of disentangling the ever-increas- 
ing perplexities except through the sword of a 
soldier. Since for five most imporant years 
the figure of Hutchinson is to be scarcely less 
prominent in our story than that of Samuel 
Adams himself, the main facts in his career 
hitherto may be recapitulated, that the char- 
acter may be fully understood with which now, 
in the summer of 1769, and in his fifty-eighth 
year, he comes into the foreground. 

Born in 1711, he left Harvard in 1727, and 
soon made some trial of mercantile life. From 
a line of famous ancestors, among them Mrs. 
Anne Hutchinson, that strong and devout spirit 
of the earliest days of Boston, he had inherited 
a most honorable name and great abilities. He 


was a Puritan to the core ; his wealth was 
large, his manners conciliated for him the good 
will of the people, which for a long time he 
never forfeited. He became a church member 
at twenty-four, selectman of Boston at twenty- 
six, and at thirty was sent as agent of the Prov- 
ince to London on important business, which he 
managed successfully. For ten years after his 
return he was representative, during three of 
which he served as speaker. In particular, he 
did good service in the settlement of the Prov- 
ince debt in 1749. For sixteen years he was a 
member of the Council, and while in the Coun- 
cil he became judge of probate, lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, and chief justice, holding all these posi- 
tions at once. It is shooting quite wide of the 
mark to base any accusation of self-seeking 
on the number of Hutchinson's offices. The 
emoluments accruing from them all were very 
small ; in some, in fact, his service was practi- 
cally gratuitous. Nor was any credit or fame 
he was likely to gain from holding them at all 
to be weighed against the labor and vexation 
to be undergone in discharging their functions. 
A more reasonable explanation of his readiness 
to uphold such burdens is that the rich, high- 
placed citizen was full of public spirit. That 
he performed honorably and ably the work of 
these various offices there is no contradicting 


testimony. As a legislator no one had been 
wiser. As judge of probate he had always be- 
friended widows and orphans. As chief justice, 
though not bred to the law, he had been an 
excellent magistrate. Besides all this, he had 
found time to write a history of New England, 
which must be regarded as one of the most in- 
teresting and important literary monuments of 
the colonial period. a work digested from the 
most copious materials with excellent judg- 
ment, and presented in a style admirable for 
dignity, clearness, and scholarly finish. 

Now that battle was joined between the peo- 
ple and the prerogative men, he had taken 
sides with the latter, following his honest opin- 
ions, and keeping his head cool even after the 
exasperations of years of controversy. On the 
14th of February, 1772, he writes : 

" It is not likely that the American colonies will 
remain part of the dominion of Britain another cen- 
tury, but while they do remain, the supreme, absolute 
legislative power must remain entire, to he exercised 
upon the colonies so far as is necessary for the main- 
tenance of its own authority and the general weal of 
the whole empire, and no farther." l 

With these views Hutchinson comes into the 
leading place among the Tory champions, a 

1 From Hutchinson's autograph letter to John H. Hutchin- 
son, Dublin, in Mass. Archives. 


place which he had not sought, but which, 
when urged upon him, he did not refuse. 

As Hutchinson becomes now the conspicu- 
ous figure among the royalists, Samuel Adams 
stands out in a prominence which he has not 
before possessed in the camp of the patriots. 
To Bernard " he was one of the principal and 
most desperate chiefs of the faction." To 
Hutchinson, however, he becomes u the chief 
incendiary," the " all in all," the " instar om- 
nium" " the master of the puppets/' Whereas 
to Bernard Samuel Adams has been only one 
among several of evil fame, to Hutchinson he 
stands like Milton's Satan among the subor- 
dinate leaders of the hellish cohorts, isolated 
in a baleful supremacy. This new eminence 
of Samuel Adams is mainly due to an event 
which took place in the beginning of Septem- 
ber. James Otis, who was far enough from 
looking forward to independence, whose favor- 
ite scheme, as we have seen, was an American 
representation in Parliament, and who with all 
his opposition was very desirous to be thought 
loyal, felt outraged beyond measure at the re- 
ports of seditious conduct on his part, that had 
been made in letters written by the crown offi- 
cers to the government in England. While in 
this frame of mind, he met, at the British coffee 
house in King Street, Robinson, one of the com- 


missioners of customs, who was there in com- 
pany with officers of the army and navy and 
various civil dignitaries. A violent altercation 
took place which ended in a fight, in the course 
of which Otis was severely cut and bruised, his 
head in particular receiving ugly wounds. The 
proceeding was regarded in the town as most 
cowardly and brutal, since Otis, while alone, 
was set upon by several assailants. The hostile 
temper of the people was greatly incensed by 
the occurrence, the resentment becoming mixed 
with passionate grief when it presently ap- 
peared that the mind of the popular idol had 
become practically wrecked by reason, as was 
generally believed, of the injuries received. 

For years already the eccentricities of Otis, 
which plainly enough indicate a certain mor- 
bidness of mind, had aroused anxiety, and made 
him sometimes almost unendurable to those who 
were forced to work with him. When Oxen- 
bridge Thacher, the admirable man whose un- 
timely death opened the way for Samuel Adams 
to enter the Assembly, had happened to think 
differently from Otis, the latter had treated 
him in so overbearing and insolent a way that 
he was obliged to call on the speaker of the 
house for protection. The bar were sometimes 
all up in arms against him on account of his ar- 
rogant affronts. Adams usually got on with him 


better than others did. Gordon says that " Sam 
Adams was well qualified to succeed Thacher, 
and learned to serve his own views by using 
Otis's influence." The old historian regards it 
as part of Samuel Adams's tact, who, he says, 
" acquired great ascendency by being ready to 
acquiesce in the proposals and amendments of 
others, while the end aimed at by them did not 
eventually frustrate his leading designs. He 
showed in smaller matters a pliableness and 
complaisance which enabled him at last to 
carry those of much greater consequence." 

But deft though he was, Adams could not al- 
ways manage Otis, as is indicated by the scene 
between " the two consuls of the faction," of 
which we know through Bernard's description, 
already quoted. At the time of the violence, 
as is learned from John Adams's report, Otis 
was in a strange frame of mind, and no doubt 
comported himself in such a way as to bring the 
assault upon himself. Although the abilities 
and services of James Otis were so magnificent, 
contemporary testimony makes it plain that he 
must often have been a source of great embar- 
rassment through his vacillations and infirmi- 
ties. That his motives were sometimes far 
enough from being the highest seems probable. 
The assertion of Hutchinson that his opposition 
to the government cause was due to wrath, into 


which he fell because his father had not been 
made chief justice in 1760, would not, unsup- 
ported, be sufficient to establish the fact. Gor- 
don, however, who stood with the patriots, 
makes the same statement. The story is that 
Shirley had promised the place to the elder 
Otis, and that the son had exclaimed: "If 
Governor Bernard does not appoint my father 
judge of the Superior Court, I will kindle such 
a fire in the Province as shall singe the gov- 
ernor, though I myself perish in the flames ; " 
and that his resistance to the government be- 
gan at the appointment of Hutchinson instead 
of his father. John Adams, too, touched by a 
slighting remark of Otis, and dashing down an 
odd outburst of testiness in his diary, hints at 
much self-seeking. 

From 1769, Otis, who had always been an 
uncomfortable ally, however useful at times, 
became simply a source of anxiety and embar- 
rassment. His influence with the people yet 
remained ; by fits and starts his old eloquence 
still flashed forth, and town-meeting and As- 
sembly, which he had so often made to thrill, 
were slow to give him up. It required all 
Samuel Adams's adroitness, however, to hold 
his crazy associate within some kind of limits, 
who frequently, as we shall see, put things in 
the gravest peril in spite of all that could be 


done. With Bernard gone, therefore, and Otis 
incapacitated, Hutchinson and Samuel Adams, 
in the deepening strife, confront one another, 
each assisted by, but quite above, his fellow 
combatants, fighters well worthy of one another 
in point of ability, honesty, and courage. 

For years now Samuel Adams had laid aside 
all pretense of private business, and was de- 
voted simply and solely to public affairs. The 
house in Purchase Street still afforded his fam- 
ily a home. His sole source of income was the 
small salary he received as clerk of the Assem- 
bly. His wife, like himself, was contented with 
poverty ; through good management, in spite 
of their narrow means, a comfortable home-life 
was maintained in which the children grew up 
happy, and in every way well-trained and cared 
for. John Adams tells of a drive taken by these 
two kinsmen, on a beautiful June day not far 
from this time, in the neighborhood of Boston. 
Then, as from the first and ever after, there 
was an affectionate intimacy between them. 
They often called one another brother, though 
the relationship was only that of second cousin. 
" My brother, Samuel Adams, says he never 
looked forward in his life ; never planned, laid 
a scheme, or formed a design of laying up any- 
thing for himself or others after him." The 
of Samuel Adams is almost without par- 


allel as an instance of enthusiastic, unswerving 
devotion to the public service throughout a long 
life. His pittance scarcely supplied food, and 
when clothing was required, as we shall see, it 
came by special gift from his friends. Yet 
with all this, according to the confession of his 
enemies, he was absolutely incorruptible. 

Bernard before his departure had written 
that the most respectable of the merchants 
would not hold to the non-importation agree- 
ments, and British merchants accordingly felt 
encouraged to send cargoes to America. On 
September 4 a factor arrived in charge of a 
large consignment of goods. The town was ex- 
pecting him ; Samuel Adams, in the " Boston 
Gazette," had prepared the public mind. At 
once a meeting of merchants was held at which 
the factor was " required to send his goods back 
again." At a town-meeting held on the same 
day Samuel Adams with others was appointed 
to vindicate the town from the false representa- 
tions of Bernard and other officials, and the 
case of those who had broken the non-importa- 
tion agreements was considered. The names 
of four merchants were placed on the records 
as infamous ; among those thus gibbeted were 
a son of Bernard and the two sons of Hutchin- 
son, with whom the father was believed by the 
people to be in collusion. Such goods as had 


been landed were housed, and the key was kept 
by a committee of patriots. The troops mean- 
while stood idle spectators, for no act could be 
alleged of which any justice of the peace would 
take notice, although the temper of the people 
was so plainly hostile. An invitation from 
New York, to continue the non-importation 
agreement until all the revenue acts should be 
repealed, was at once accepted by the mer- 
chants. Hutchinson, in letters to Bernard, 
hopes, consistently enough, "that Parliament 
will show their indignation. ... A rigorous 
spirit in Parliament will yet set us right ; with- 
out it the government of this Province will be 
split into innumerable divisions." 

The committee chosen to defend the town 
from the aspersions of the crown officials re- 
ported at an adjourned meeting, held a fort- 
night later, an address written by Samuel 
Adams, which obtained great fame under the 
title, " An Appeal to the World." It occupies 
twenty-nine pages of 'the town-records, and was 
circulated widely in America and also in Eng- 
land, where it was republished. In the case of 
Wilkes the principle of representation was at 
this time undergoing attack in England as well 
as in America, and there were many who read 
with eagerness the Boston statement. Speak- 
ing of Bernard, the appeal declares : 


" He always discovered an aversion to free assem- 
blies ; no wonder then that he should be so particu- 
larly disgusted at a legal meeting of the town of Bos- 
ton, where a noble freedom of speech is ever expected 
and maintained; an assembly of which it may be 
justly said, * Sentire quse volunt et quae sentiunt di- 
cere licet,' they think as they please and speak as 
they think. Such an assembly has ever been the 
dread, often the scourge of tyrants." 

A remarkable forbearance, one is forced to 
admit, characterizes the conduct of the soldiers 
during the fall and winter of 1769. In Octo- 
ber a man who had given information regard- 
ing certain smuggled wine, which had arrived 
from Rhode Island, was tarred and feathered, 
carted for three hours through the streets, and 
finally made to swear under the Liberty Tree 
never again to do the like. John Mein, pub- 
.lisher of the " Chronicle," a paper which, from 
having been neutral, at length took the govern- 
ment side, was a recent Scotch immigrant of 
intelligence and enterprise. His advertisements 
as a bookseller are still interesting reading, rill- 
ing as they do whole columns of the news- 
papers with lists of his importations, comprising 
the best books in that day published. He de- 
serves to be gratefully remembered also as the 
founder in Boston of circulating libraries. For 
ridiculing certain of the patriots he was at- 


tacked and goaded into firing a pistol among 
the crowd ; he was forced to fly to the main 
guard for protection, whence he escaped in dis- 
guise, to return soon after to England. Diffi- 
culty was experienced in maintaining the non- 
importation agreements. Certain merchants 
who had signed them reluctantly, interpreting 
them now according to the letter, which made 
them expire on January 1, 1770, at once threw 
off restrictions on that date and began to sell 
tea. Among these were the sons of Hutchin- 
son, who were upheld by their father. The peo- 
ple, however, had a different understanding of 
the agreement. The restriction, they thought, 
must remain in force until other merchants 
could import. A crowd of citizens, merchants, 
justices of the peace, selectmen, representatives, 
and magistrates, as well as men of a lower de- 
gree, waited upon Hutchinson, demanding re- 
dress. Hutchinson from the window warned 
them of the danger of their illegal and riotous 
proceedings, but finally succumbed to the de- 
mands of the crowd, a course which he later re- 
gretted. " Some of your friends and mine," he 
afterward wrote to a royalist, " wish matters 
had gone to extremities, this being as good a 
time as any to have called out the troops." He 
felt great doubt whether he was competent, as 
governor, to order the soldiers to fire, as appears 


from his diary, a doubt shared by the legal 
lights in England ; he was chief magistrate, 
but did that imply the powers of a justice of 
the peace ? 

The same method seems to have been em- 
ployed or at least threatened by the people, in 
other cases, and to have been much dreaded. 
A certain Scotchman, a large importer, having 
been remonstrated with and proving utterly 
contumacious, Samuel Adams arose in the meet- 
ing and moved grimly that the crowd, consist- 
ing of two thousand people, should resolve itself 
into a committee of the whole and wait upon 
him to urge his compliance with the general 
wish. Thereupon the Scotchman, a little fel- 
low in a reddish, smoke-dried wig, with a squeak- 
ing voice and a roll of the r's like a well-played 
drum, rushed before the crowd exclaiming: 
" Mr. Mode-r-r-rator, I agr-r-ree, I agr-r-ree I " 
greatly to the people's amusement. Samuel 
Adams pointed to a seat near himself with a 
polite, condescending bow of protection, and the 
frightened man was quieted. 

It had been intimated from England that, 
since the government had become convinced 
that duties like those of the Townshend act were 
not consistent with the laws of commerce, the 
imposts would be removed from glass, paper, and 
painters' colors, but not, as we have seen, from 


the one article, tea. The people were not con- 
ciliated, for it was easy to see that in retaining 
the duty upon tea, the government proposed to 
cling to the right of taxing the colonies. This 
principle the colonists were just as determined 
to repudiate, and therefore, although as a mat- 
ter of dollars and cents it was a thing of tri- 
fling moment, a resistance to the use of tea from 
the present time is a main feature of the dis- 
turbance. Tea it was which the sons of Hutch- 
inson were anxious to bring into the market 
at the expiration of the non-importation agree- 
ments, when the resistance of the people was 
so determined. It was voted by the citizens 
soon after at Faneuil Hall to abstain totally 
from the use of tea. Since the men were less 
concerned in the matter than the women, the 
mistresses of four hundred and ten families 
pledged themselves to drink no more tea until 
the revenue act was repealed, and a few days 
later one hundred and twenty young ladies 
formed a similar league. 

" We, the daughters of those patriots," said they, 
" who have and do now appear for the public interest, 
and in that principally regard their posterity, as 
such do with pleasure engage with them in denying 
ourselves the drinking of foreign tea, in hope to frus- 
trate a plan which tends to deprive a whole com- 
munity of all that is valuable in life." 


At the social gatherings the void created by 
the absence of the popular beverage was quite 
unfilled, save by the rather melancholy notes 
of the spinnet. 

The importers had no peace. They were 
pointed out as proscribed men, and were hooted 
at by boys in the streets. It was during such 
a disturbance that, on the 22d of February, the 
first bloodshed took place in Boston, in a con- 
test which had for so long been a mere war of 
words. A crowd of boys, engaged in torment- 
ing a trader who had made himself obnoxious 
by selling tea, was fired into by a partisan of 
the government. One boy was wounded, and 
another, Christopher Snyder, son of a poor Ger- 
man, was killed. An immense sensation was 
created. The boy who was slain was eleven 
years old. At his funeral five hundred of his 
schoolmates walked before the coffin, and a 
crowd of more than a thousand people followed. 
The procession marched from the Liberty Tree 
to the town-house, and thence to the burying- 
ground on the Common. The man who had 
fired the shot narrowly escaped being torn in 
pieces. So step by step the estrangement in- 
creased, and at length came a formidable ex- 



As the spring of the year 1770 appeared, 
the 14th and 29th regiments had been in Bos- 
ton about seventeen months. The 14th was in 
barracks near the Brattle Street Church ; the 
29th was quartered just south of King Street ; 
about midway between them, in King Street, 
and close at hand to the town-house, was the 
main guard, whose nearness to the public build- 
ing had been a subject of great annoyance to 
the people. During a period when the legis- 
lature was not in session a body of troops had 
occupied the unused representatives' chamber. 
James Otis had characteristically given voice 
to the general aversion at this time. At a 
meeting of the Superior Court in the council 
chamber he moved an adjournment to Faneuil 
Hall, saying, with a gesture of contempt and 
loathing, "that the stench occasioned by the 
troops in the representatives' chamber might 
prove infectious, and that it was utterly derog- 
atory to the court to administer justice at the 


points of bayonets and the mouths of cannon." 
During their Boston sojourn the troops were 
carefully drilled. John Adams, whose house 
was near the barracks of the 14th, has left a 
description of the music and exercises to which 
he and his family were constantly treated. 
One is forced to admit, also, that a good degree 
of discipline was maintained ; no blood had as 
yet been shed by the soldiers, although provo- 
cations were constant, the rude element in the 
town growing gradually more aggressive as the 
soldiers were never allowed to use their arms. 
Insults and blows with fists were frequently 
taken and given, and cudgels also came into 
fashion in the brawls. Whatever awe the reg- 
iments had inspired at their first coming had 
long worn off. In particular the workmen of 
the rope-walks and ship-yards allowed their 
tongues the largest license, and were foremost 
in the encounters. 

About the 1st of March fights of unusual 
bitterness had occurred near Grey's rope-walk, 
not far from the quarters of the 29th, between 
the hands of the rope-walk and soldiers of that 
regiment, which had a particularly bad reputa- 
tion. The soldiers had got the worst of it, and 
were much irritated. Threats of revenge had 
been made, which had called out arrogant re- 
plies, and signs abounded that serious trouble 


was not far off. From an early hour on the 
evening of the 5th of March the symptoms 
were very ominous. There was trouble in the 
neighborhood of the 14th regiment, which was 
stopped by a sudden order to the soldiers to 
go into their barracks. A crowd of towns- 
people remained in Dock Square, where they 
listened to an harangue from a certain myste- 
rious stranger in a long cloak, who has never 
been identified. An alarm was rung from one 
of the steeples, which called out many from 
their houses under the impression that there 
was a fire. At length an altercation began in 
King Street between a company of lawless 
boys and a few older brawlers on the one side, 
and the sentinel, who paced his beat before the 
custom-house, on the other. Somewhat earlier 
in the evening the sentry had pushed or struck 
lightly with his musket a barber's apprentice, 
who had spoken insolently to a captain of the 
14th as he passed along the street. The boy 
was now in the crowd, and pointing out the 
sentry as his assailant, began with his compan- 
ions to press upon him, upon which the soldier 
retreated up the steps of the custom-house, and 
called out for help. A file of soldiers was at 
once dispatched from the main guard, across 
the street, by Captain Preston, officer of the 
guard, who himself soon followed to the scene 


of trouble. A coating of ice covered the ground, 
upon which shortly before had fallen a light 
snow. A young moon was shining ; the whole 
transaction, therefore, was plainly visible. The 
soldiers, with the sentinel, nine in number, drew 
up in line before the people, who greatly out- 
numbered them. The pieces were loaded and 
held ready, but the mob, believing that the 
troops would not use their arms except upon 
requisition of a civil magistrate, shouted coarse 
insults, pressed upon the very muzzles of the 
pieces, struck them with sticks, and assaulted 
the soldiers with balls of ice. 

In the tumult precisely what was said and 
done cannot be known. Many affidavits were 
taken in the investigation that followed, and, 
as always at such times, the testimony was 
most contradictory. Henry Knox, afterwards 
the artillery general, at this time a bookseller, 
was on the spot and used his influence with 
Preston to prevent a command to fire. Pres- 
ton declared that he never gave the command. 
The air, however, was full of shouts, daring 
the soldiers to fire, some of which may have 
been easily understood as commands, and at 
last the discharge came. If it had failed to 
come, indeed, the forbearance would have been 
quite miraculous. Three were killed outright, 
and eight wounded, only one of whom, Crispus 


Attucks, a tall mulatto who faced the soldiers, 
leaning on a stick of cord-wood, had really taken 
any part in the disturbance. The rest were by- 
standers or were hurrying into the street, not 
knowing the cause of the tumult. A placid 
citizen, standing in his doorway on the corner 
of King and Congress Streets, was struck by 
two balls in the arm, upon which, says tradi- 
tion, he turned about and quietly remarked, " I 
declare, I do think these soldiers ought to be 
talked to." A wild confusion, with which this 
curious little spill of milk and water was in 
strong enough contrast, took possession of the 
town. The alarm-bells rang frantically ; on the 
other hand the drums of the regiments thun- 
dered to arms. The people flocked to King 
Street, where the victims lay weltering, the 
whiteness of the ground under the moon giving 
more ghastly emphasis to the crimson horror. 
The companies of the 29th regiment, forming 
rapidly, marched to the same spot, upon which, 
with steady discipline, they kneeled in obedi- 
ence to command, prepared for street-firing. 
The 14th meanwhile stood ready in their bar- 
racks. " The soldiers are rising. To arms ! 
to arms ! Town-born, turn out," were the 
wild cries with which the air was filled. 

What averted a fearful battle in the streets 
was the excellent conduct of Hutchinson. He 


had supposed at first that the confusion was 
due to an alarm of fire, but was presently called 
out by people running from King .Street, with 
the tidings that he must appear, or the town 
would soon be all in blood. Making his way 
to Dock Square, he could produce no impres- 
sion upon the confusion. He avoided the 
crowd by entering a house, and by a private 
way at length reached the custom-house. His 
first act was to take Preston sharply to task. 

" Are you the commanding officer ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Do you know, sir, you have no power to 
fire on any body of people collected together, 
except you have a civil magistrate with you to 
give orders ? " 

" I was obliged to, to save the sentry." 

As a catastrophe seemed imminent, the lieu- 
tenant-governor made his way as quickly as 
possible to the council-chamber, from the bal- 
cony of which facing eastward down King 
Street, with the soldiers in their ranks, the an- 
gry people and the bloody snow directly be- 
neath him, he made a cool and wise address. 
He expressed heart-felt regret at the occur- 
rence, promised solemnly that justice should be 
done, besought the people to return to their 
homes, and desired the lieutenant-colonels who 
stood at his side to send the troops to their 


quarters. " The law," he declared, " should 
have its course. He would live and die by the 

The officers, descending to their commands, 
gave orders to the troops to shoulder arms and 
return to their barracks. No opposition was 
made to the arrest of Captain Preston and the 
nine soldiers who had been concerned in the 
firing, which was presently effected. The 
crowd gradually fell away, leaving about a hun- 
dred to attend the investigation, which at once 
began under Hutchinson's eye, and continued 
until three o'clock in the morning. In good 
season the next forenoon, Hutchinson, sitting 
in the council chamber, with such members of 
the Council as could be assembled, was waited 
upon by the selectmen of Boston and most of 
the justices of the county, who told him that 
townspeople and troops could no longer live 
together, and that the latter must depart. 
Hutchinson alleged, as he had done before, that 
the troops were not under his command, and 
while the interview went forward the select- 
men were peremptorily summoned elsewhere. 
To Faneuil Hall the people had flocked be- 
times, the number of the townsmen swelled by 
crowds who poured in from the country. Wil- 
liam Cooper, the town clerk, acted as chairman 
at first. When presently the selectmen ap- 


peared, and things took on a more formal shape, 
Thomas Gushing became moderator, and Dr. 
Cooper, of the church in Brattle Street, by in- 
vitation of the multitude, offered an earnest 
prayer. Depositions were then taken, graphic 
statements of facts connected with the Massa- 
cre, by various eye-witnesses, and then at length 
Samuel Adams addressed the meeting. What 
he said must be inferred from the action which 
the meeting immediately took. A committee 
of fifteen was appointed, among them Samuel 
Adams, although he was not at the head of it, 
who were instructed to wait upon Hutchinson 
to demand the instant removal of the troops. 
Measures were then taken for a town-meeting 
in regular form at three o'clock in the after- 
noon, the selectmen preparing, and the consta- 
bles posting the warrants. While the people 
dispersed, the committee proceeded to discharge 
their duty that they might be ready to report 
in the afternoon. Their spokesman announced 
to Hutchinson that it was the determination 
of Boston and all the country round that the 
troops should be removed. According to Hutch- 
inson's own account, when he, with his Council 
and the officers of the army and navy stood 
face to face with the committee of fifteen, he 
reiterated his declaration that he had no au- 
thority to remove the troops. The committee, 


dissatisfied, waited after the interview in a 
room adjoining the council chamber. 

At three o'clock the town-meeting assembled 
in regular form at Faneuil Hall, but the mul- 
titude, swollen by the people of the surrounding 
towns, became so vast that they adjourned to 
the Old South. As Hutchinson sat deliberating 
with the Council and crown officers, the crowd 
swept past the town-house, over the snow still 
crimson with the Massacre. How they looked 
as they moved past, now in groups, now singly, 
now in a numerous throng, we may get through 
side-lights. It was a disorderly mob which the 
evening before had pressed upon the soldiers. 
But now said a member of the Council to Hutch- 
inson, as they looked from the windows down 
upon the street . " This multitude are not such 
as pulled down your house ; but they are men 
of the best characters, men of estates, and men 
of religion ; men who pray over what they do." 
And Hutchinson himself declares, that they 
were " warmed with a persuasion that what 
they were doing was right, that they were 
struggling for the liberties of America," and 
he judged " their spirit to be as high as was the 
spirit of their ancestors when they imprisoned 
Andros, while they were four times as numer- 
ous." It must be owned that there is a tone of 
candor in these expressions ; nevertheless, it 


was the view of Hutch inson that the demand 
of the people for the removal of the regiments 
ought to be resisted, and he has recorded that 
it was not he who yielded. Colonel Dalrymple, 
of the 14th regiment, the ranking officer, had 
indicated that as the first intention had been to 
station the 29th a,t the Castle, though he could 
receive an order from no one but Gage, he 
would respect the expression of a desire from 
the magistrates, and would, if it were thought 
best, send the 29th to the Castle. The town's 
committee were informed of this, Hutchinson 
declaring that he would receive no further com- 
munication on the subject. The Council, how- 
ever, with Dalrymple, induced him to meet 
them again for further deliberation. 

Issuing, as we may suppose, from the south- 
ern door, the committee of fifteen appeared 
upon the steps of the Old State House, on their 
way to the Old South to make their report, 
Samuel Adams at their head. The crowd had 
overflowed from the church into the street, and 
the cry went before, " Make way for the com- 
mittee." Samuel Adams bared his head : he was 
but forty-eight, but his hair was already so gray 
as to give him a venerable look. He inclined 
to the right and left, as they went through the 
lines of men, saying as he did so : " Both regi- 
ments or none ! " " Both regiments or none ! " 


Densely as they could be packed, the floor and 
the double range of galleries in the Old South 
were filled with the town-meeting, the crowd 
in the street pushing in on the backs of those 
already in place, till stairs, aisles, and windows 
were one mass of eager faces. The reply of 
the lieutenant-governor was rendered in this 
presence, namely, that the commander of 
the two regiments received orders only from 
the general in New York, but that at the de- 
sire of the civil magistrates, the 29th, because 
of the part it had played in the disturbance, 
should be sent to the Castle, and also that the 
position of the main guard should be changed ; 
the 14th, however, must remain in the town, 
but should be so far restrained as to remove all 
danger of further differences. But now re- 
sounded through the building the cry, " Both 
regiments or none ! " from the floor, from the 
galleries, from the street outside, where men 
on tip-toe strove to get a view of proceedings 
within. " Both regiments or none ! " and it be- 
came plain what the leader had meant, as he 
spoke to the right and to the left a moment be- 
fore, while the committee had proceeded from 
the council chamber to the town-meeting. The 
watch-word had been caught up as it was sug- 
gested ; and now with small delay a new com- 
mittee, this time consisting of seven, upon which 


the town took more care than ever to put the 
best men, was sent back to the governor. 

Of the committee, Hancock, Henshaw, and 
Pemberton had wealth, ability, and worth, and 
were moreover selectmen ; Phillips was a mer- 
chant, generous and respected ; Molineux, too, 
was a merchant, a man of much executive force, 
but more valued perhaps in action than in coun- 
sel, while Joseph Warren, the physician, im- 
petuously eloquent, had for some years been 
pushing always higher. On the list of the 
committee, while Hancock is first, Samuel Ad- 
ams comes second. Probably the rich luxu- 
rious chairman did not forget, even on an oc- 
casion like this, to set off his fine figure with 
gay velvet and lace, and a gold-headed cane. 
About four o'clock that afternoon, the 6th of 
March, the new committee entered the council 
chamber ; and now as the power of the people 
and the power of the government, like two 
great hulls in a sea-fight, are about to crash 
together, in the moment of collision, on the 
side of the Province the gilded figure -head is 
taken in and " a wedge of steel " l is thrust 
forth in front to bear the brunt of the impact. 

1 John Adams, who found the legitimate resources of rhetoric 
quite inadequate for the expression of his admiration for his 
kinsman, says Sam Adams was " born and tempered a wedge 
of steel to split the knot of lignum vita that tied America to 


Hancock disappears from the fore, and Samuel 
Adams stands out to take the shock ! Day was 
already waning, and we may fancy the council 
chamber lighting up with a ruddy glow from 
the open fire-places. John Adams long after 
suggested the scene that took place as a fit 
subject for a historical painting. 

" Now for the picture. The theatre and the scenery 
are the same with those at the discussion of the writs 
of assistance. The same glorious portraits of King 
Charles the Second, and King James the Second, to 
which might be added, and should be added, little 
miserable likenesses of Governor "Winthrop, Governor 
Bradstreet, Governor Endicott, and Governor Belcher, 
hung up in obscure corners of the room. Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Hutchinson, commander-in-chief in 
the absence of the governor, must be placed at the 
head of the council-table. Lieutenant-Colonel Dai- 
ry mple, commander-in-chief of his majesty's mili- 
tary forces, taking rank of all his majesty's council- 
lors, must be seated by the side of the lieutenant- 
governor and commander-in-chief of the Province. 
Eight-aud-twenty councillors must be painted, all 
seated at the council-board. Let me see, what 
costume ? What was the fashion of that day in the 
month of March ? Large white wigs, English scarlet- 
cloth coats, some of them with gold-laced hats ; not 
on their heads indeed in so august a presence, but on 
the table before them or under the table beneath 
them. Before these illustrious personages appeared 


SAMUEL ADAMS, a member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives and their clerk, now at the head of the 
committee of the great assembly at the Old South 

Adams spoke in his straightforward, earnest 
way, asserting the illegality of quartering troops 
on the town in time of peace without the con- 
sent of the legislature ; he described the trouble 
that must come if the troops remained, and 
urged the necessity of compliance with the de- 
mand of the town. Gordon says that the pe- 
culiar nervous trembling, of which he was the 
subject, communicated itself as he spoke to 
Colonel Dalrymple. Hutchinson showed no ir- 
resolution. He briefly defended both the legal- 
ity and the necessity of the presence of the 
troops, and declared once more that they were 
not subject to his authority. Samuel Adams 
once more stood forth : 

"It is well known," he said, "that acting as gov- 
ernor of the Province, yon are by its charter the 
comtnander-in-chief of the military forces within it ; 
and as such, the troops now in the capital are subject 
to your orders. If you, or Colonel Dalrymple under 
you, have the power to remove one regiment, you 
have the power to remove both ; and nothing short 
of their total removal will satisfy the people or pre- 
serve the peace of the Province. A multitude highly 
incensed now wait the result of this application. The 


voice of ten thousand freemen demands that both 
regiments be forthwith removed. Their voice must 
be respected, their demand obeyed. Fail not then at 
your peril to comply with this requisition ! On you 
alone rests the responsibility of this decision ; and if 
the just expectations of the people are disappointed, 
you must be answerable to God and your country for 
the fatal consequences that must ensue. The com- 
mittee have discharged their duty, and it is for you 
to discharge yours. They wait your final determina- 

A long discussion now took place, in which 
Hutchinson appears to have stood alone in his 
wish to continue to oppose the town. His be- 
lief, he says, was that if officers and Council had 
supported him in the beginning in the firm as- 
sertion that the troops could not be removed 
without the orders of Gage, the people could 
have been put off. The Council, however, 
yielded ; the colonels, too, gave way, Dalrym- 
ple at last signifying his readiness to remove 
the 14th as well as the 29th. The position of 
affairs remained no secret. The people were 
promptly informed that the governor stood 
alone. At length Andrew Oliver, the sec- 
retary, upon whom Hutch inson much relied, 
who had at first advised resistance, declared 
that it could go no farther, that the governor 
must give way or instantly leave the Province. 


At last, therefore, the formal recommendation 
came from him to Dalrymple to remove the 
troops. The soldier's word of honor was given 
that it should be done at once, and at dark the 
committee carried back to the meeting the 
news of success, upon which, so say the rec- 
ords, " the inhabitants could not but express 
the high satisfaction which it afforded them." 

A week was required for the transportation 
of the troops and their baggage, during which 
the town, dissatisfied with what appeared like 
unnecessary delay, remonstrated through the 
same committee of seven. A night-watch dur- 
ing this time continued in organization, under 
the same committee. Says John Adams : 

" Military watches and guards were everywhere 
placed. We were all upon a level ; no man was ex- 
empted ; our military officers were our superiors. I 
had the honor to be summoned in my turn, and at- 
tended at the State House with my musket and bay- 
onet, my broadsword and cartridge-box, under the 
command of the famous Paddock." 

During this week occurred the funeral of the 
victims of the Massacre, which took place under 
circumstances of the greatest solemnity. Four 
hearses, for one of the wounded had meantime 
died, containing the bodies, and coming from 
different directions, met upon the spot in King 
Street in which the victims had fallen. The 


assemblage was such as had never before been 
known ; the bells of Boston and the whole neigh- 
borhood tolled, and a great procession, march- 
ing in ranks of six abreast, followed to the 
Granary Burying Ground, where the bodies 
were laid in a common grave near the north- 
east corner. There they rest to this day. In 
England the affair was regarded as a u success- 
ful bully " of the whole power of the govern- 
ment by the little town, and when Lord North 
received details of these events he always af- 
terward referred to the 14th and 29th as the 
" Sam Adams regiments." 

From that day to this, both in England and 
America, it has been held that there was a 
great exhibition of weakness, if not actual pol- 
troonery, on the part of the civil and military 
officers of the government in this conflict with 
the town of Boston. The idea is quite wrong. 
Hutchinson, so far from showing any weakness, 
was resolute even to rashness. Loving his coun- 
try truly, honestly believing that Parliament 
must be supreme over the provincial legisla- 
ture, and that the people would acquiesce in 
such supremacy if only a few headstrong lead- 
ers could be set aside, he was in a position as 
chief magistrate which he had not sought. 
Now that he was in it, however, he pursued 


the course which seemed to him proper, sad- 
dened though he must have been by the unpop- 
larity, fast deepening into hatred, of which he 
had become the subject. To uphold the gov- 
ernment cause, the presence of the troops was, 
in his view, indispensable. The taxes imposed 
by Parliament there could be no hope of col- 
lecting in the misled Province except with the 
support of bayonets. Upon what could his 
own authority rest, with Council and Assembly 
in vast proportion hostile, if the troops were 
removed ? He had avoided occasions of con- 
flict, as he had reason to feel, with much for- 
bearance. The Massacre of the 5th of March 
he deeply regretted ; he was determined to 
have justice done. But when the peremptory 
demand came from the town for the removal of 
the regiments, then he felt it right to remain 
passive; he thought he had no power in the 
matter. There is no reason to doubt his own 
representation, made in private letters, 1 in his 
history, 2 in his private diary 3 now just come to 
light, that he would not have yielded but for 
the course pursued by those about him, whose 
support he could not do without. Possibly he 
was right in thinking that a firm front shown 
from the first by the crown officers would have 

1 To Bernard, March 18, 1770. 2 m sti ft. 2 75. 

8 Diary, 79, 80. 


won over the people in spite of the machina- 
tions of the "faction." All men about the 
governor, however, were at last for yielding, 
and the people knew it, and were encouraged 
by it in their own course. In the " Diary," 
where he expresses himself with more freedom 
than elsewhere, Hutchinson charges Dalrym- 
ple with being especially responsible for the 
result : 

" Colonel Dalrymple offered to remove one regi- 
ment, to which the soldiers on guard belonged. This 
was giving up the point. . . . The regiments were 
removed. He was much distressed, but he brought it 
all upon himself by his offer to remove one of the 

Nor is it necessary to regard Dalrymple as a 
coward. His character as a brave and prudent 
soldier is certified to in the strongest terms by 
the famous Admiral Hood, shortly before the 
commodore on the Boston station. The regi- 
ments together numbered scarcely six hundred 
effective men. Boston was evidently sustained 
by the country. What could six hundred men 
do against a populous Province ? It was, no 
doubt, a stretch of authority to order the troops 
away, but a prudent soldier may well have felt 
that the circumstances justified it. He took the 
responsibility, and although the mortification 
which the act caused in England was so great, 


it is to be noticed that he never received any 
censure for it. 

But while we try to do justice to men who 
have received contemptuous treatment for a 
hundred years, we must not lose sight of their 
mistake. Hutchinson's conduct was manful 
and consistent with his views. He ought, how- 
ever, to have had better views. Out of the 
best strain of New England as he was, sprung 
from liberty-loving sires and trained in the 
folk-mote, what business had he to stand there 
for arbitrary power against government of the 
people, by and for the people ? It was a posi- 
tion in which such a man should never have 
been found. And now let us look at the great 
contrasting figure. In the scenes we have been 
contemplating, the two men stand over against 
one another in a definite opposition and prom- 
inence which we have not before seen. It has 
been regarded as the most dramatic point of 
Samuel Adams's career. One may well dwell 
with admiration on the incidents of his con- 
duct. Where his adversary failed, he was 
strong. Of like origin and training with him, 
in Samuel Adams's case the fruit had been le- 
gitimate. He believed with all his heart in 
the people, that they should be governed only 
by themselves or their representatives, and was 
perfectly fearless and uncompromising against 


all power, whether king, Parliament, or sol- 
diery, which contravened the great right. 
While he moves in obedience to the principle 
he recognizes, how effective at this time is his 
work ! As is so often the case, he is, for the most 
part, somewhat withdrawn, not the moderator 
of the town-meeting, nor indeed chairman of 
the famous committees, but nevertheless the 
controlling mind. His speech at Faneuil Hall 
in the forenoon of the 6th of March without 
doubt outlined the whole policy that must be 
pursued. When, as the first committee passed 
from the south door of the State House to the 
Old South, he kept repeating to right and left, 
" Both regiments or none," he guided the whole 
action of the people as the crisis approached. 
When, an hour or two later, Hancock stepped 
aside and Samuel Adams walked forward in 
the council chamber into the spokesman's place, 
probably he was the one man of the Province 
who could then have brought the British lion 
to confusion. He himself seems to have felt 
that it was the great moment in his life. For 
almost the only time in his whole career, we 
find something like a strain of personal exulta- 
tion in his reference to this scene. Writing of 
Hutchinson's bearing in it to James Warren of 
Plymouth, in the following year, he says : 

" It was then, if fancy deceived me not, I observed 


his knees to tremble. I thought I saw his face grow 
pale (and I enjoyed the sight) at the appearance of 
the determined citizens peremptorily demanding the 
redress of grievances." 

The contemporary historian, as we have seen, 
says that Dalrymple, too, trembled. We need 
not feel, however, that either soldier or civilian 
played then the part of the craven. The cir- 
cumstances were for them full of danger and 
difficulty. The determination of ten thousand 
freemen was focused in the steel-blue eyes of 
Samuel Adams as he stood in the council cham- 
ber ; the tramp of their feet and the tumult of 
their voices made a heavy ground-tone behind 
his earnest, decisive words. It was a time when 
even a brave man might for a moment blench. 

By rare good-fortune, the world possesses 
what is probably the best representation that 
could at that time have been made of Samuel 
Adams as, on that March day, he drove the 
British uniform out of the streets of Boston. 
John Hancock, two years later, employed the 
famous John Singleton Copley to paint portraits 
of himself and Samuel Adams, which hung for 
fifty years on the walls of the Hancock House 
in Beacon Street, which were then removed to 
Faneuil Hall, and are now in the Art Museum. 
Copley was at first well disposed to the popular 
cause. At the time of the Massacre he testified 


against the soldiers, and seems to have admired 
the bearing of Samuel Adams throughout the 
disturbances. At any rate, for this portrait, he 
has chosen to give Samuel Adams as he stood 
in the scene with Hutch in son in the council 
chamber. Against a background suggestive of 
gloom and disturbance, the figure looks forth. 
The face and form are marked by great 
strength. The brow is high and broad, and 
from it sweeps back the abundant hair, streaked 
with gray. The blue eyes are full of light and 
force, the nose is prominent, the lips and chin, 
brought strongly out as the head is thrown 
somewhat back, are full of determination. In 
the right hand a scroll is held firmly grasped, the 
energy of the moment appearing in the cording 
of the sinews as the sheets bend in the pressure. 
The left hand is thrown forth in impassioned 
gesture, the forefinger pointing to the provin- 
cial charter, which with the great seal affixed, 
lies half unrolled in the foreground. The plain 
dark-red attire announces a decent and simple 
respectability. The well-knit figure looks as 
fixed as if its strength came from the granite 
on which the Adamses planted themselves when 
they came to America ; the countenance speaks 
in every line the man. 



IN the fall of the year Captain Preston and 
the soldiers were brought to trial. However 
the rude part of the people may have thirsted 
for their blood, it was not the temper of the 
better-minded. By an arrangement in which 
Samuel Adams had a share, John Adams and 
Josiah Quincy, eminent patriots and lawyers, 
appeared as counsel for the prisoners, while 
Robert Treat Paine, also eminent, undertook 
the prosecution. Everything was done to se- 
cure for the prisoners a fair trial. The town 
attempted to suppress the publication of the 
official account of the Massacre until proceed- 
ings were over, that the minds of the jurors 
might be quite unprejudiced. Preston was en- 
tirely acquitted ; most of the soldiers, too, were 
brought in "Not guilty." Two were found 
guilty of manslaughter, but let off with no more 
severe punishment than being branded in the 
hand in open court. John Adams, fully per- 


suaded of the innocence of the accused, and 
Quincy, exerted themselves to the utmost for 
their clients, and every extenuating circum- 
stance was allowed its full weight. Samuel 
Adams, it must be confessed, appears not al- 
ways to advantage at this time. He was little 
satisfied with the postponement of the trial, 
and quite displeased with the issue. With 
William Cooper, Warren, and a concourse of 
people, if we may trust Hutchinson, he appeared 
before the Superior Court after the judges had 
decided not to proceed at once, and sought to 
induce them to alter their decision. The trial 
he followed carefully, constantly taking notes. 
At its conclusion, over the signature "Vindex," 
he examined the evidence at length, pronounced 
much of that given for the soldiers false, and 
battled fiercely with the royalist writers who 
ventured into the lists against him. 

The conduct of the town of Boston was really 
very fine. The moderation which put off the 
arraignment of the accused men until the pas- 
sions of the hour had subsided, the appearance 
of John Adams and Josiah Quincy, warm pa- 
triots, in the defense, the acquittal at last of all 
but two, and the light sentence inflicted upon 
these, all together constituted a grand tri- 
umph of the spirit of law and order, at a time 
when heated feeling might have been expected 


to carry the day. If Samuel Adams's counsels 
had prevailed, it cannot be denied that the out- 
come would have been less creditable. The 
course of things would have been hurried, the 
punishment have been more severe. Yet with 
all their undue vehemence, his utterances pos- 
sess sometimes a noble grandeur. As " Vin- 
dex " he declares : 1 

" Philanthrop may tell us of the hazard of ' disturb- 
ing and inflaming the minds of the multitude whose 
passions know no bounds.' The multitude I am 
speaking of is the body of the people, no contempti- 
ble multitude, for whose sake government is instituted, 
or rather who have themselves erected it, solely for 
their own good, to whom even kings and all in 
subordination to them, are, strictly speaking, servants, 
not masters." 

On the very day of the Boston Massacre Par- 
liament debated the repeal of the taxes imposed 
by Townshend upon glass, paper, and paints, 
voting at last, as has been said, to retain only 
the duty upon tea. Since the right of taxa- 
tion without representation was thus adhered 
to, the concession amounted to nothing, and 
the breach between mother-land and colonies 
remained as wide as ever. 

When at length the General Court convened, 
in Maivh, a most tedious dispute arose at once. 
Says Hutchinson : 

1 January 21, 1771, 


'* There came a signification of the king's pleasure 
that the General Court should be held in Cambridge, 
unless the lieutenant-governor should have more 
weighty reasons for holding it at Boston than those 
which were mentioned by the secretary of state 
against it." 

Bernard, as we know, had already convened 
the court at Cambridge, in violation, as was 
claimed, of the charter, causing no small incon- 
venience to the members and also to Harvard 
College, the " Philosophy Room " in which was 
given up to the sessions. The main point, 
however, upon which the Whigs stood was the 
insufficiency of the plea of royal " instructions " 
for violating a provision of the charter. The 
quarrel continued until 1772, when Hutchinson 
felt forced to yield the point, although shortly 
before he had been on the brink of success. 
Both Otis and Hancock came out at one time 
on the government side, and Gushing, too, was 
weak-kneed. Hutchinson might well have felt 
that he was made even with his adversary for 
his discomfiture at the time of the Massacre, 
when one day he was waited upon by a legisla- 
tive committee with Sam Adams among them, 
bearing a message to the effect that they rec- 
ognized his power under royal instruction to 
remove the legislature " to Housatonic, in the 
extreme west of the Province, if he chose." 


For the patriot cause all seemed imperiled, and 
Hutchinson wrote cheerfully, looking forward 
to the most substantial cleaving of difficulties 
from the success of this entering wedge. He 
was foiled, however ; Bowdoin and Hawley stood 
steadfastly by Samuel Adams, while Otis, speed- 
ily falling once more under the power of his 
disease, was carried off bound hand and foot. 
Hancock came round again to his old friends. 
The tail of the British lion remained in the 
grasp of these remorseless twisters. 

While the debate was in progress Hutchin- 
son received his commission as governor, not 
without many tokens of favor in spite of the 
lowering brows of the patriots. His brother- 
in-law, Andrew Oliver, became at the same 
time lieutenant-governor, and Thomas Flucker 
secretary. Among the felicitations Harvard 
College paid a tribute, while the students made 
the walls of Holden Chapel ring with the an- 
them : 

" Thus saith the Lord : from henceforth, behold, 
all nations shall call thee blessed; for thy rulers 
shall be of thy own kindred, your nobles shall be of 
yourselves, and thy governor shall proceed from the 
midst of thee." 

Shortly before, in 1770, died Dennys De- 
berdt, who had served the Assembly long and 
faithfully in England as agent; and in his 


place, not without considerable resistance, 
Franklin was elected. This famous Boston 
boy, who as a youth had gone to Pennsylvania, 
and after a remarkable career had at length 
proceeded to England, was already the agent 
of Pennsylvania. No American as yet had 
gained so wide a fame on both sides of the At- 
lantic. His discoveries in natural philosophy 
gave him high rank among men of science, and 
his abilities in politics had also become gener- 
ally recognized. In Massachusetts, neverthe- 
less, a considerable party distrusted him, among 
whom stood Samuel Adams ; and it is easy to 
understand why. Franklin's wide acquaintance 
with the world, joined to a disposition natu- 
rally free, had lifted him to a degree that might 
well seem alarming above the limitations rec- 
ognized as proper by all true New England- 
ers. The boy who, according to the well-known 
story, had advised his father to say grace once 
for all over the whole barrel of beef in the cel- 
lar, and so avoid the necessity of a blessing at 
table over each separate piece, was indeed the 
father of the man. Plenty of stories were rife 
respecting Franklin, that touched the Puritan 
corns as much as would this. At the present 
time, indeed, it is not merely the over-fastidious 
who take exception to certain passages in 
Franklin's life. To stern Samuel Adams and 


his sympathizers no man upon whom rested a 
suspicion of free thinking or free living could 
be congenial. 

There were still other reasons, which had 
probably more weight than that just men- 
tioned in bringing it about that, just at this 
time Franklin should be opposed in Massachu- 
setts. In some respects, to be sure, his political 
declarations were exceedingly bold ; witness his 
famous " examination " in 1765. With all this, 
however, Franklin was strenuously opposed to 
any revolution. The British empire he com- 
pared to a magnificent china bowl, ruined if a 
piece were broken out of it, and he earnestly 
recommended that it should be kept together. 
With grand foresight he anticipated the speedy 
peopling of the Mississippi valley, though at 
that time few Europeans had crossed the Alle- 
ghanies ; and he thought the time was not far 
off when this portion of the English dominions 
would preponderate, when even the seat of gov- 
ernment might be transferred hither, and Amer- 
ica become principal, while England should be- 
come subordinate. For the views of Samuel 
Adams, Franklin, probably, had as little liking 
as Adams had for those of Franklin. As late as 
the summer of 1773 Franklin wrote to Boston, 
deprecating the influence of the violent spirits 
who were for a rupture with the mother coun- 


try. " This Protestant country (our mother, 
though of late an unkind one) is worth preserv- 
ing ; her weight in the scale of Europe, and 
her safety in a great degree, may depend on 
our union with her." To his well-known de- 
sire to remain united to England was added 
the fact that Franklin, as deputy postmaster- 
general, held an important crown office, while 
his natural son, William Franklin, was royal 
governor of New Jersey, and a pronounced 

Samuel Adams acquiesced in the appoint- 
ment of Franklin, though his party succeeded 
in associating with him the Virginian, Arthur 
Lee ; and at the fall session of 1770, by the 
bidding of the House, Samuel Adams had sent 
the new agent a long letter of instructions, in 
which the grievances were recapitulated for 
which Franklin was to seek redress. These in- 
clude the quartering of troops on the people in 
time of peace ; the policy of arbitrary instruc- 
tions from his majesty's secretaries of state in 
violation of the charter; the removal of the 
legislature from Boston ; the secrecy as to in- 
tended measures of government, with the con- 
cealment from the colonies of the names of their 
accusers and of the allegations against them; 
the sending to England of false reports of 
speeches and legislative proceedings under the 


Province seal ; the enormous extension of the 
jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts, in viola- 
tion of the clause of Magna Charta by which 
every freeman on trial was entitled to the 
" judgment of his peers on the law of the 
land ; " and finally the threatened bestowal by 
the king of salaries upon the attorney-general, 
judges, and governor of the Province, thus re- 
moving their dependence upon the people. All 
these subjects are treated in detail. The let- 
ter was not only sent to Franklin, but was pub- 
lished in full in the " Boston Gazette." Hutch- 
inson sent a copy to England, denouncing Sam- 
uel Adams by name as the author, and calling 
him the " all in all," the " great incendiary 

In August, 1771, a strong fleet of twelve 
sail, under Admiral Montague, brother of the 
Earl of Sandwich, a commander who among 
the old sea-dogs of England seems to have been 
marked by characteristics especially canine, 
cast anchor before the town. The pretext was 
the impending war with Spain, but all knew it 
was intended to check the spread of sedition. 
It is hard to see in these years how the Whig 
cause could have been prevented from going 
by the board, but for Samuel Adams. Now in 
the newspapers, now in the Boston town-meet- 
ing, now at the head of his party in the House, 


at the first symptom of danger he was on the 
alert with resolute remonstrance, the more vig- 
orous as those about him grew weary and reac- 
tionary. Fighting steadily the removal of the 
legislature, be was once more up in arms when 
Hutchinson, in obedience again to " instruc- 
tions," was about to surrender the command of 
the Castle to Dalrymple, though the charter 
required that the commander should be an offi- 
cer of the Province. Again, at the hint that 
the governors and the law officers were to re- 
ceive salaries from the king and to be no longer 
dependent on the Province, there was the fierc- 
est " oppugnation." This point, indeed, be- 
came at once the subject of a quarrel of the 
sharpest, just as the long dispute was closing 
respecting the removal of the legislature. 

Almost the first business to which the 
House turned in May, 1772, was the question 
of the governor receiving a salary from the 
king. Hutchinson now avowed that his sup- 
port in future was to proceed from the king, 
and declined to accept compensation from the 
Province. Vigorous resolutions were passed 
declaring this to be a violation of the char- 
ter, "exposing the Province to a despotic ad- 
ministration of government." Hawley was 
chairman of the committee reporting the res- 
olutions, but Samuel Adams was concerned in 


their composition. When they passed by a 
vote of eighty-five to nineteen, several of the 
loyalists withdrew discouraged. The legisla- 
ture, made sullen, refused to repair the Prov- 
ince House, and Hutchinson, after an energetic 
reply to Hawley's resolutions, prorogued the 
court until September. During the summer 
Lord Hillsborough retired from his secretary- 
ship, making it known to the lords of trade on 
the eve of that event that the king, " with the 
entire concurrence of Lord North, had made 
provision for the support of his law servants in 
the Province of Massachusetts Bay." In Sep- 
tember this news became known in Boston, and 
that warrants had been ordered on the com- 
missioners of customs for the payments. The 
rising tone in the writings of Samuel Adams is 
very apparent. As " Vindex " he had declared 
in the " Boston Gazette," when only rumors 
were rife, 

" I think the alteration of our free and mutually 
dependent constitution into a dependent ministerial 
despotism, a grievance so great, so ignominious and 
intolerable, that in case I did not hope things would 
in some measure regain their ancient situation without 
more bloodshed and murder than has been already 
committed, I could freely wish at the risk of my all, 
to have a fair chance of offering to the manes of my 
slaughtered countrymen a libation of the blood of 
the ruthless traitors who conspired their destruction." 



As " Valerius Poplicola," October 5, 1772, 
he is even more earnest. 

" Is it not enough," he cried, " to have a Governor 
an avowed advocate for ministerial measures, and a 
most assiduous instrument in carrying them on, 
model'd, shaped, controul'd, and directed, totally inde- 
pendent of the people over whom he is commissioned 
to govern, arid yet absolutely dependent upon the 
Crown, pension'd by those on whom his existence 
depends, and paid out of a revenue establish'd by 
those who have no authority to establish it, and ex- 
torted from the people in a Manner most odious, in- 
sulting, and oppressive? Is not this indignity enough 
to be felt by those who have any feeling ? Are we 
still threatened with more ? Is Life, Property, and 
everything dear and sacred to be now submitted to 
the Decisions of PENSIONED judges, holding their 
places during the pleasure of such a Governor, and a 
Council perhaps overawed ? To what a state of In- 
famy, Wretchedness, and Misery shall we be reduced, 
if our Judges shall be prevail'd upon to be thus de- 
graded to HIRELINGS, and the BODY of the people 
shall suffer their free Constitution to be overturned 
and ruin'd. Merciful God! inspire thy people with 
wisdom and fortitude, and direct them to gracious ends. 
In this extreme distress, when the plan of slavery seems 
nearly compleated, save our country from impend- 
ing ruin. Let not the iron hand of tyranny ravish our 
Ifiws and seize the badge of freedom, nor avow'd Cor- 
ruption and the murderous Rage of lawless Power be 
ever seen on the sacred Seat of Justice ! 


"Let us converse together upon this most interest- 
ing Subject, and open our minds freely to each other. 
Let it be the topic of conversation in every social 
club. Let every Town assemble. Let Associations 
and Combinations be everywhere set up to consult 
and recover our just Rights. 

' The country claims our active aid. 

That let us roam ; & where we find a spark 

Of public Virtue, blow it into Flame.' n 



u LET associations and combinations be every- 
where set up to consult and recover our just 
rights." This suggestion, contained at the end 
of the paper quoted at the close of the last 
chapter, Samuel Adams proceeded to put at 
once in practice, setting on foot one of the most 
memorable schemes with which his name is as- 
sociated. As his career has been traced, we 
have seen that in the instructions of 1764 and 
frequently since, his recognition of the impor- 
tance of a thorough understanding between the 
widely separated patriots has appeared. A let- 
ter of the previous year to Arthur Lee contains 
the definite suggestion of a Committee of Cor- 
respondence, " a sudden thought which drops 
undigested from my pen," which should not 
only promote union among the Americans, but 
also with men similarly minded in England, 
like the society of the Bill of Rights. The 
task before Samuel Adams was a hard one. 
Not only must he thwart the Tories, but he 


found the patriots for the most part quite in- 
different ; he may be said, indeed, to have 
worked out the scheme alone. Gushing, Han- 
cock, and Phillips, his associates of the Boston 
seat, were against his idea, as were also the 
more influential among the selectmen. War- 
ren indeed was a strenuous helper, but had 
not yet risen into great significance. Church 
appeared zealous, but he was secretly a trai- 
tor. Three petitions were presented to the 
selectmen, and three weeks passed before the 
meeting could be brought about. In the last 
petition the number of names was much di- 
minished, indicating the difficulty which Sam- 
uel Adams found in holding the people to the 
work. He used what influence he could out- 
side of Boston to prepare the way for his idea 
in other towns. Writing to Elbridge Gerry, 
a young man of twenty-eight, with whom he 
was just coming into a connection that grew 
into a close and unbroken life-long friendship, 
who had encouraged him with an account of 
interest felt at Marblehead, he says : 

" Our enemies would intimidate us by saying our 
brethren in the other towns are indifferent about this 
matter, for which reason I am particularly glad to re- 
ceive your letter at this time. Roxbury I am told is 
fully awake. I wish we could arouse the continent." 

A town-meeting took place, which was ad- 


journed and again adjourned, in the general 
lethargy ; so slight was the interest with which 
the successive steps in a movement of the first 
importance were regarded ! Hutchinson, in an- 
swer to a resolution of inquiry and a request 
that the legislature, which was to meet Decem- 
ber 2, might not be prorogued, replied, 

"That the charter reserved to the governor the 
full power, from time to time, to adjourn, prorogue, 
or dissolve the Assembly. A compliance with the 
petition would be to yield to them the exercise of that 
part of the prerogative. There would be danger of 
encouraging the inhabitants of other towns in the 
Province to similar procedures, which the law had 
not made the business of town-meetings." 

The town-meeting caused the governor's 
words to be read again and again before it, and 
voted them to be " not satisfactory." The pro- 
ceeding illustrates well the astuteness and 
knowledge of men of Samuel Adams, who was 
certainly as consummate a political manager as 
the country has ever seen. He drafted for the 
town the resolution and request to the gov- 
ernor, which have just been referred to, and 
which apparently relate to something very dif- 
ferent from his real purposes ; he was chairman 
of the committee which presented these docu- 
ments. The whole thing was a trap. He wrote 
afterwards to Gerry that he knew such requests, 


couched in such terms, must provoke from 
Hutch inson an arrogant answer, the effect of 
which would be to touch the people in a point 
where they were sensitive, and produce unan- 
imity for the course which he desired to pur- 
sue. As he had expected and planned, the 
town-meeting resolved unanimously that " they 
have ever had and ought to have, a right to 
petition the king or his representative for a 
redress of such grievances as they feel, or for 
preventing such as they have reason to appre- 
hend, and to communicate their sentiments to 
other towns." 

The town-meeting having been brought into 
an appropriate mood, there followed the motion 
which in its consequences was perhaps the most 
important step which had so far been taken in 
bringing into existence the new nation. The 
town records of Boston say : 

" It was then moved by Mr. Samuel Adams that 
a Committee of Correspondence be appointed, to con- 
sist of twenty-one persons, to state the rights of the 
colonists and of this Province in particular as men 
and Christians and as subjects ; and to communicate 
and publish the same to the several towns and to the 
world as the sense of this town, with the infring- 
ments and violations thereof that have been or from 
time to time may be made." * 

The motion occasioned some debate and 


seems to have been carried late at night ; the 
vote in its favor, at last, was nearly unanimous. 
The colleagues of Adams, who had left him 
almost alone thus far, now declined to become 
members of the committee, regarding the 
scheme as useless or trifling. The committee 
was at last constituted without them ; it was 
made up of men of little prominence but of 
thorough respectability. James Otis, in another 
interval of sanity, was made chairman, a posi- 
tion purely honorary, the town in this way 
showing its respect for the leader whose mis- 
fortunes they so sincerely mourned. 

The Committee of Correspondence held its 
first meeting in the representatives' chamber at 
the town-house, November 3, 1772, where at the 
outset each member pledged himself to observe 
secrecy as to their transactions, except those 
which, as a committee, they should think it 
proper to divulge. According to the motion by 
which the committee was constituted, three du- 
ties were to be performed : 1st, the preparation 
of a statement of the rights of the colonists, as 
men, as Christians, and as subjects; 2d, a dec- 
laration of the infringement and violation of 
those rights ; 3d, a letter, to be sent to the sev- 
eral towns of the Province and to the world, 
giving the sense of the town. The drafting of 
the first was assigned to Samuel Adams, of 


the second to Joseph Warren, of the third to 
Benjamin Church. In a few days tidings came 
from the important towns of Marblehead, Rox- 
bury, Cambridge, and Plymouth, indicating that 
the example of Boston was making impression 
and was likely to be followed. On November 
20, at a town-meeting in Faneuil Hall, the 
different papers were presented : Otis sat as 
moderator, appearing for the last time in a 
sphere where his career had been so magnifi- 
cent. The report was in three divisions, ac- 
cording to the motion. The part by Samuel 
Adams, which has absurdly been attributed to 
Otis by later writers, is still extant in his au- 
tograph. The paper of Warren recapitulated 
the long list of grievances under which the 
Province had suffered ; while Church, in a let- 
ter to the selectmen of the various towns, solic- 
ited a free communication of the sentiments of 
all, expressing the belief that the wisdom of 
the people would not " suffer them to doze or 
sit supinely indifferent on the brink of destruc- 

In the last days of 1772, the document, hav- 
ing been printed, was transmitted to those for 
whom it had been intended, producing at once 
an immense effect. The towns almost unani- 
mously appointed similar committees ; from 
every quarter came replies in which the senti- 


ments of Samuel Adams were echoed. In the 
library of Bancroft is a volume of manuscripts, 
worn and stained by time, which have an in- 
terest scarcely inferior to that possessed by 
the Declaration of Independence itself, as the 
fading page hangs against its pillar in the li- 
brary of the State Department at Washington. 
They are the original replies sent by the Mas- 
sachusetts towns to Samuel Adams's commit- 
tee, sitting in Faneuil Hall, during those first 
months of 1773. One may well read them 
with bated breath, for it is the touch of the 
elbow as the stout little democracies dress up 
into line, just before they plunge into actual 
fight at Concord and Bunker Hill. There is 
sometimes a noble scorn of the restraints of or- 
thography, as of the despotism of Great Britain, 
in the work of the old town clerks, for they gen- 
erally were secretaries of the committees : and 
once in a while a touch of Dogberry's quaint- 
ness, as the punctilious officials, though not al- 
ways "putting God first," yet take pains that 
there shall be no mistake as to their piety by 
making every letter in the name of the Deity 
a rounded capital. Yet the documents ought 
to inspire the deepest reverence. They con- 
stitute the highest mark the town-meeting has 
ever touched. Never before and never since 
have Anglo-Saxon men, in lawful folk-mote 


assembled, given utterance to thoughts and 
feelings so fine in themselves and so pregnant 
with great events. To each letter stand af- 
fixed the names of the committee in autograph. 
This awkward scrawl was made by the rough 
fist of a Cape Ann fisherman, on shore for the 
day to do at town-meeting the duty his fellows 
had laid upon him ; the hand that wrote this 
other was cramped from the scythe-handle, as 
its possessor mowed an intervale on the Con- 
necticut ; this blotted signature, where smutted 
fingers have left a black stain, was written by 
a blacksmith of Middlesex, turning aside a mo- 
ment from forging a barrel that was to do duty 
at Lexington. They were men of the plainest ; 
but as the documents, containing statements of 
the most generous principles and the most cour- 
ageous determination, were read in the town- 
houses, the committees who produced them, and 
the constituents for whom the committees stood, 
were lifted above the ordinary level. Their 
horizon expanded to the broadest ; they had in 
view not simply themselves, but the welfare of 
the continent ; not solely their own generation, 
but remote posterity. It was Samuel Adams's 
own plan, the consequences of which no one 
foresaw, neither friend nor foe. Even Hutchin- 
son, who was scarcely less keen than Samuel 
Adams himself, was completely at fault. " Such 


a foolish scheme,'* he called it, "that the faction 
must necessarily make themselves ridiculous." 
But in January the eyes of men were opening. 
One of the ablest of the Tories, Daniel Leon- 
ard, wrote : 

" This is the foulest, subtlest, and most venomous 
serpent ever issued from the egg of sedition. I saw 
the small seed when it was implanted ; it was a grain 
of mustard. I have watched the plant until it has 
become a great tree." 

It was the transformation into a strong cord 
of what had been a rope of sand. 

Though Samuel Adams could be terribly in 
earnest, as sufficiently appears from the ex- 
tracts which have been made, there is never an 
excess of zeal and rage, such as shows itself 
sometimes in his more youthful and hot-headed 
disciples, Warren and Quincy. During the oc- 
cupation of Boston by the troops, Warren was 
known to be ready with knock-down arguments, 
upon occasion, for red-coats that were too forth- 
putting, and once exclaimed to William Eustis, 
afterwards governor of Massachusetts : " These 
fellows say we won't fight ; by heavens, I hope 
I shall die up to my knees in blood ! " Dur- 
ing the agitation before the formation of the 
Committee of Correspondence, Josiah Quincy 
wrote : 


" The word of God has pointed the mode of relief 
from Moabitish oppression : prayers and tears with 
the help of a dagger. The Lord of light has given us 
the fit message to send to a tyrant : a dagger of a 
cubit in his belly ; and every worthy man who desires 
to be an Ehud, the deliverer of his country, will strive 
to be the messenger." 

Such outbreaks of vindictive frenzy never 
appeared in the speech or conduct of Samuel 
Adams, though as a dire necessity from which 
there could be no shrinking without sacrifice of 
principle an appeal to the sword at some time 
not far distant began to seem to him inevi- 

How high the name of Samuel Adams stood 
elsewhere than in Massachusetts, was shown 
early in 1773 in the matter of the burning of 
the British man-of-war Gaspee, in Narragan- 
sett Bay. The zealous officer who commanded 
her had brought upon himself the ill-will of 
the people by the faithfulness with which he 
carried out his instructions in executing the 
obnoxious revenue laws. His vessel running 
ashore, a party from Providence attacked her in 
boats, and after a fight, in which the commander 
was wounded, the Gaspee was burned. The 
wrath of the Tories and of the officers of the 
British army and navy was great. A board of 
commissioners appointed by the crown convened 


at Providence, who, it was believed, would send 
the culprits to England for punishment, and 
perhaps take away the charter of Rhode Island. 
Through the general connivance of the people, 
the British admiral and the governor could not 
find the actors in the affair, although they were 
well known. Matters wore a dark look. In 
their distress, the leading men of the colony, 
looking about for an adviser, made respectful 
application to Samuel Adams : " Give us your 
opinion in what manner this colony had best 
behave in this critical situation, and how the 
shock that is coming upon us may be best 
evaded or sustained." Samuel Adams, while 
giving advice in detail, makes a suggestion 
which plainly shows what thought now espe- 
cially occupies him : 

" I beg to propose for your consideration whether 
a circular letter from your Assembly on the occasion, 
to those of the other colonies, might not tend to the 
advantage of the general cause and of Rhode Island 
in particular." 



IN the long struggle between the patriots and 
the government the student becomes bewil- 
dered, so numerous are the special discussions, 
and so involved with one another. Hutchin- 
son and Samuel Adams stand respectively at 
the heads of the opposed powers, each dex- 
terous, untiring, fearless ; and as the spectator 
of a mortal combat with swords between a pair 
of nimble, energetic strivers might easily be- 
come confused in the breathless interchange of 
thrust and parry, so in trying to follow this un- 
remitting ten years' fight, there is absolutely no 
place where one can rest. The attention must 
be fixed throughout, or some essential phase of 
the battle is lost. 

However deceived Hutchinson may have 
been for an instant as to the effect of his 
great rival's stroke in the establishment of th 
Committee of Correspondence, his eyes were 
in a moment opened, and with his usual quick- 


ness he was ready at once with his guard. 
He convened the legislature January 6, 1773, 
and whereas he had always heretofore avoided 
a formal discussion of the great question at 
issue, preferring to assume the authority of 
Parliament over the colonies as a matter of 
course, he now sent to the legislature a pow- 
erful message in which the doctrine of par- 
liamentary supremacy was elaborately vindi- 
cated. The reception of such a paper was to 
the legislature a matter of the gravest mo- 
ment. Hutchinson was unsurpassed in acute- 
ness ; no one knew so thoroughly as he the 
history of the colonies from the beginning ; 
his legal reading had been so wide that few 
could match him in the citation of precedents. 
At his command, too, were all the skill and 
learning of the Tory party, which included 
strong men, like Daniel Leonard, the news- 
paper writer, and Jonathan Sewall, the attor- 
ney-general. Reviewing the past usages of 
Massachusetts, the governor undertook to show 
that the course of things favored the idea of 
the supremacy of Parliament, which had never 
been denied until the time of the Stamp Act. 
The grant of liberties and immunities in the 
charter could not be understood as relieving 
the Province from obligations toward the su- 
preme legislature, but was only an assurance on 


the part of the crown to the Americans that 
they had not become aliens, but remained free- 
born subjects everywhere in the dominions of 
Britain. By their voluntary removal from 
England to America, they relinquished a right 
which they could resume whenever they chose 
to return to England, the right, namely, of 
voting for the persons who made the laws. 
The fact that they had voluntarily relinquished 
this right by removing could by no means be 
understood as destroying the authority of the 
law-makers over them. No line, he alleged, 
could be drawn between an acknowledgment 
of the supremacy of Parliament and inde- 
pendence ; and the governor asked if there 
was anything they had greater reason to dread 
than independence, exposed as they would then 
be in their weakness to the attacks of any 
power which might choose to destroy them. 
Hutchinson supported and illustrated his posi- 
tions by references to history and constitutional 
authorities far and near. The tone of the doc- 
ument was moderate and candid: "If I am 
wrong I wish to be convinced of my error. . . . 
I have laid before you what I think are the 
principles of your constitution ; if you do not 
agree with me, I wish to know your objec- 
tions." Nothing could be better adapted to 
weaken the spirit of opposition, to which the 


Committees of Correspondence were giving new 

The governor's message produced a wide and 
profound effect. The newspapers spread it to 
the world. It was read not only throughout 
Massachusetts, but throughout America ; in 
England, too, it was widely circulated. Many 
a patriot knit his brows over it as a paper most 
formidable to his cause ; the Tories called it 
unanswerable, and extolled its author as a rea- 
soner whom none could overthrow. But over 
against him stood his adversary, wary, watchful, 
undismayed, and the counter-stroke was at once 
delivered. As Hutchinson had summoned to 
his help all the acumen and learning of the loy- 
alists, so his opponent laid under contribution 
whatever shrewdness or knowledge could be 
found in the opposite camp. Hawley and John 
Adams, in particular, lent their help. The 
master agitator, however, himself arranged and 
combined all, presenting at last an instrument 
in his own clear, unequivocal English, which 
the simplest could grasp, which the ablest 
found it difficult to gainsay. On January 8, 
the speech of the governor had had a second 
reading ; then a committee, with Samuel Ad- 
ams for its chairman, was appointed to reply, 
which reported its answer on the 22d. The 
Assembly entered into long and careful de- 


liberation concerning it. They had been ac- 
customed to follow with little question their 
strongest minds, particularly of late the mem- 
bers of the Boston seat ; but in the present 
crisis they seem to have resolved to take no 
leap in the dark. The answer of the com- 
mittee was taken up paragraph by paragraph, 
and thorough proof was demanded for the 
soundness of all the arguments and the cor- 
rectness of the citations from authorities. All 
this the committee furnished. 

The reply, as it came out from this inquisi- 
tion, traversed the governor's speech, position by 
position. The disturbed condition of the Prov- 
ince, to which he had made allusion, was attrib- 
uted to the unprecedented course of Parliament. 
The charters granted by Elizabeth and James 
were cited, and much space was taken in show- 
ing that the laws of the colonies were intended 
to conform to the fundamental principles of the 
English constitution, and that they did not im- 
ply the supremacy of Parliament. The terri- 
tory of America was at the absolute disposal of 
the "crown," and not annexed to the " realm." 
The sovereignty of Parliament was not im- 
plied in the granting of the charters ; Parlia- 
ment had never had the inspection of colonial 
acts, for the king alone gave his consent or al- 
lowance. The reply denied that the settlers, 

212 SAMUEL A$ A MS. 

when removing to America, relinquished any 
of the rights of British subjects, one of which 
was to be governed by laws made by per- 
sons in whose election they had a voice. " His 
excellency's manner of reasoning on this point 
seemed to them to render the most valuable 
clauses of their charter unintelligible." 

The paper passed on to a consideration of 
the views of the founders of New England. 
From Hutchin son's own declarations in his his- 
tory, they sought here to make good their case 
in opposition to his plea. As regarded the di- 
lemma proposed by the governor, that if Parlia- 
ment were not supreme the colonies were inde- 
pendent, the alternative was accepted, and the 
claim made that, since the vassalage of the col- 
onies could not have been intended, therefore 
they must be independent. There cannot be 
two independent legislatures in one and the 
same state, Hutchinson had urged. Were not 
the colonies, then, by their charters made dif- 
ferent states by the mother country ? queried 
the reply. Although, said Hutchinson, there 
may be but one head, the king, yet the two leg- 
islative bodies will make two governments as 
distinct as the kingdoms of England and Scot- 
land before the union. Very true, may it 
please your excellency, was the answer; and if 
they interfere not with each other, what hin- 


ders their living happily in such a connection, 
mutually supporting and protecting each other, 
united under one common sovereign ? As to 
the dangers of independence, the answer states 
that the colonists stand in far more fear of des- 
potism than of any perils which could come to 
them if they were cut loose. The Assembly 
discussed the paper with the greatest care, 
point by point. At length it passed, and Sam- 
uel Adams himself, at the head of the com- 
mittee, put the document into the hand of 

A controversy has arisen, which need not be 
entered into here, as to how far the credit of 
this memorable reply belongs to any one man. 
That Samuel Adams consulted whoever might 
be able to give him help is certain, and he 
gained much from the suggestions of others. 
In the main, however, the work is undoubtedly 
his. Wide as is the range of reading implied, 
it was not beyond him. Devoted heart and soul 
as he was to the public service, there were few 
great writers upon the subject of politics, an- 
cient or modern, with whom he was unac- 
quainted. Though not a lawyer, wherever 
law touched questions of state he was at home. 
Hutchinson had felt that his message was irre- 
futable. The reply made him think that he 
had perhaps made a mistake in submitting the 



matter to argument. Heretofore the policy 
had been to regard the matter of parliamen- 
tary supremacy as something so clear that it 
did not admit of discussion ; doubts now began 
to arise whether it had been wise to abandon 
this policy. But it was too late to withdraw. 
To the reply of the House he opposed a rejoin- 
der longer than his original message, adding 
little, however, to its strength. When the As- 
sembly, through Samuel Adams, met this also, 
the indefatigable governor once more appeared. 
The Council, too, by the hand of Bowdoin, 
took part in the controversy. 

The patriots published the debate, pro and 
con, far and wide, confident that their side had 
been well sustained. On the other hand, the 
friends of government in England and America 
extolled the effort of Hutchinson, and found 
only sophistry in the argument of his oppo- 
nents. Thurlow, then attorney-general, found 
the governor's course admirable, and Lord 
Mansfield, whom Hutchinson met in England 
the following year, passed the highest encomi- 
ums upon his work. 

In spite of commendation from such high 
sources, many friends of the government disap- 
proved Hutchinson's course. They felt, says 
Grahame, that " the principles solemnly estab- 
lished by the crown and Parliament were un- 


hinged and degraded by the presumptuous, 
argumentative patronage of a provincial gov- 
ernor." Hutchinson himself was ill at ease. He 
wrote Lord Dartmouth that he did not " intend 
ever to meet the Assembly again. . . . Your 
lordship very justly observes that a nice dis- 
tinction upon civil rights is far above the reach 
of the bulk of mankind to comprehend. I ex- 
perience the truth of it both in the Council 
and House of Representatives. The major part 
of them are incapable of those nice distinctions, 
and are in each house too ready to give an im- 
plicit faith to the assertion of a single leader." 
As one reviews the strife at this distance, it 
may be said that both sides argued well. As 
far as precedents went, Hutchinson certainly 
could brace himself thoroughly. For centuries 
the principles of the primeval liberty had un- 
dergone wide perversion. Kings had persisted, 
and people had acquiesced in all sorts of arbi- 
trary procedure. The first charter, intended 
only for a trading company, had been put to a 
use for which it was never designed in being 
made the basis of a great body-politic. In the 
second charter, many provisions were indefi- 
nite. The relation of government and governed 
throughout the colonial history had been full 
of quarreling. It was often hard enough to say 
what could be claimed, what rulers and people 


really thought or intended. A good basis for 
Hutchinson's argument existed in the British 
constitution as it was. Samuel Adams pre- 
sented that constitution rather as it had been 
before the ancient freedom had been overlaid ; 
as it should be, moreover, and as it tends to be- 
come in these later days, when the progress of 
reform gives back constantly more and more of 
the old Anglo-Saxon liberty. 1 Hutcliinson hon- 
estly felt that he was right ; he was sustained 
by many of the best Englishmen of his day ; in 
fact, at the present time Britons of the highest 
position and intelligence hold the same conclu- 
sions. The ideas of his opponent, however, 
are those higher and broader ones which are to 
rule the world of the future. 

Before the session ended, the House through 
Samuel Adams contended with Hutchinson as 
to the salaries of the judges of the Superior 
Court, which, like that of the governor, it had 
been resolved in England should be independ- 
ent of the Province. The prorogation took 
place on the 6th of March. 

When on the 5th of March the anniversary 
of the Massacre was celebrated, the oration be- 
fore the crowded auditory in the Old South 
was delivered by the brilliant but double-faced 
Benjamin Church. He was eloquent and seem- 

1 Freeman, Growth of the Eng. Const. 


ingly patriotic ; the following prophetic pas- 
sage is found in the address : " Some future 
Congress will be the glorious source of the sal- 
vation of America. The Amphictyons of 
Greece, who formed the diet or great council 
of the states, exhibit an excellent model for the 
rising Americans." 

Hutchinson having alleged the illegality of 
the proceedings of the Boston town-meeting, 
which established the Committee of Correspond- 
ence, and considered the matter of the salaries 
of the judges, Samuel Adams was chairman of 
the committee to reply. " By an unfortunate 
mistake," wrote the governor, " soon after the 
charter a law passed which made every town 
in the Province a corporation perfectly demo- 
cratic, every matter being determined by the 
major vote of the inhabitants; and although 
the intent of the law was to confine their pro- 
ceedings to the immediate proceedings of the 
town, yet for many years past the town of 
Boston has been used to interest itself in every 
affair of moment which concerned the Province 
in general." 

The legislature during the late session had 
been so thoroughly occupied by the controversy 
concerning the parliamentary authority that 
Samuel Adams had found no opportunity to 
develop his plan of Committees of Correspond- 


ence in ways that he had projected. He was 
of course not sorry to have circumstances bring 
it about that the initiative in the greater work, 
the binding together of the separate colonies as 
the Massachusetts towns were bound together, 
was taken by Virginia. Early in March, the 
House of Burgesses debated the matter of an 
intercolonial system of correspondence ; before 
the middle of the month the measure had 
passed, and as soon after as the slow moving 
posts of those days could bring the news, the 
intelligence reached Massachusetts. The con- 
troversy as to whether the idea of intercolonial 
Committees of Correspondence really originated 
with Samuel Adams is hardly worth dwelling 
upon. Indeed, the scheme was so obvious that 
doubtless it occurred originally to many persons. 
None, however," are known to have been before 
Samuel Adams in the matter. 

That the special action of the House of Bur- 
gesses in March, 1773, came to pass through 
Boston incitement is a matter which Virginia 
local pride would no doubt strenuously deny. 
Boston claimed it, however. 

" Our patriots say that the votes of the town of 
Boston, which they sent to Virginia, have produced 
the resolves of the Assembly there, appointing a 
Committee of Correspondence, and I have no doubt 
it is their expectation that a committee for the same 


purpose will be appointed by most of the other As- 
semblies upon the continent." l 

Whatever may have been the secret springs, 
the news of the Virginia action was most 
-warmly welcomed. The General Court had 
adjourned, but the Boston Committee of Corre- 
spondence distributed the Southern resolutions 
far and wide. Samuel Adams at once testified 
his joy, in a letter to R. H. Lee ; and immedi- 
ately upon the convening of the new legisla- 
ture, to which he, with Hancock, Gushing, and 
Phillips, had been elected by an almost unani- 
mous vote, resolves were introduced responding 
warmly to the Southern overtures and estab- 
lishing a legislative Committee of Correspond- 
ence. Fifteen members were to constitute it, 
eight of them forming a quorum. Though 
Gushing was nominally chairman, Samuel Ad- 
ams was of course the inspirer and chief mover, 
as he also was of the Boston committee. In 
both he was by far the foremost man, fanning, 
as it were, with one hand the fires of freedom 
already alight in the Massachusetts towns, and 
with the other holding the torch to the tinder 
piled up and ready, though not yet kindled, in 
the slower colonies, until at last the whole land 
was brought into a conflagration of discontent. 

1 Hutchinson, manuscript letter in Mass. Archives, April 19, 



IN the session of the General Court which 
came after the May elections of 1773, the gov- 
ernor, following instructions, signified the king's 
disapprobation of the appointment of Com- 
mittees of Correspondence, which sit and act 
during the recesses. The House replied, and 
Hutchinson gives in his history a summary of 
their argument. It is strange, when he was 
able to state so fairly the positions of his oppo- 
nents, that he did not feel more strongly the 
justice of those positions. The House said : 

" When American rights are attacked at times when 
the several Assemblies are not sitting, it is highly 
necessary that they should correspond, in order to 
unite in the most effectual means to obtain redress of 
grievances ; and as in most colonies the Assemblies 
sit at such times as governors who hold themselves 
under the direction of administration think fit, it 
must be expected that the intention of such corre- 
spondence will be made impracticable, unless com- 
mittees sit in the recess. The crown officers had 


corresponded with ministers of state and persons of 
influence, in order to make plans for a policy deemed 
grievous by the colonists ; it ought not to be thought 
unreasonable or improper for the colonists to corre- 
spond with their agents as well as each other, that 
their grievances might be explained to his majesty, 
that in his justice he might afford them relief ; and 
as heretofore the Province had felt the displeasure of 
their sovereign from misrepresentations, there was 
room to apprehend that in this instance he had been 
misinformed by such persons as had in meditation 
further measures destructive to the colonies, and 
which they were apprehensive would be defeated by 
means of Committees of Correspondence, sitting and 
acting in the recess of the respective Assemblies." 

The " misinformation " conveyed to the king 
by persons who favored " measures destructive 
to the colonies " was a matter which troubled 
the patriots not a little, leading in the summer 
of 1773 to a series of proceedings on their part 
full of adroitness, but quite irreconcilable, one 
is forced to admit, with fair dealing. The con- 
viction had long prevailed that the policy of 
the ministry toward America was suggested by 
persons residing in the colonies, who studied on 
the spot the course of events and the temper of 
the people, and by secret correspondence gave 
advice which led to obnoxious acts. Franklin 
at length obtained possession in England of 


certain private letters from Hutchinson, An- 
drew Oliver, the lieutenant-governor, Paxton, 
the head of the commissioners of customs, and 
one or two other loyalists, which were put to 
an extraordinary use. Precisely how Franklin 
obtained the letters was a secret for more than 
a hundred years. Whether his course was al- 
together honorable in the matter need not be 
considered here. In the recriminations that 
followed, an innocent man nearly lost his life 
in a duel, and Franklin himself, after having 
been exposed to a bitter denunciation by Wed- 
derburn, the solicitor-general, in the presence 
of the Privy Council, was ostracised by English 

However it may have been with the obtain- 
ing of the letters, the manner in which they 
were employed to bring obloquy upon Hutch- 
inson really admits of no defense. Less than 
half of the letters were from Hutchinson, and 
in these not a sentence can be found inconsist- 
ent with his public declarations, or expressing 
more than a mild disapproval of the course of 
the Whigs. His conviction that Parliament 
should be supreme in the colonies is apparent, 
but this he had a thousand times asserted be- 
fore the world. He writes in no unfriendly 
spirit, and makes suggestions remarkable only 
for their great moderation. In the only one of 


the six letters in which Hutchinson trenches 
closely upon controverted points, his expres- 
sions, copied here from the pamphlet published 
by the Massachusetts Assembly, are as fol- 
lows : 

" I never think of the measures necessary for the 
peace and good order of the colonies without pain ; 
there must be an abridgment of what are called Eng- 
lish liberties. I relieve myself by considering that 
in a remove from the state of nature to the most 
perfect state of government, there must be a great 
restraint of natural liberty. I doubt whether it is 
possible to project a system of government in which 
a colony, three thousand miles distant from the par- 
ent state, shall enjoy all the liberty of the parent 
state. I am certain I have never yet seen the pro- 

In Hutchinson 's own defense, he says of 
these words, in his history : 

" To a candid mind, the substance of the whole 
paragraph was really no more than this : 1 1 am 
sorry the people cannot be gratified with the enjoy- 
ment of all they call English liberties, but in their 
sense of them it is not possible for a colony at three 
thousand miles' distance from the parent state to en- 
joy them, as they might do if they had not re- 

In no way does the governor say more here 
than he had repeatedly said in public. He 


makes no recommendation that the charter 
should be changed, or troops be sent. Such 
liberties as the establishment of Committees of 
Correspondence, the discussion of great affairs 
of state by the town-meetings, the resistance 
to the ministerial policy in the matter of the 
payment of the judges and the crown officials, 
Hutchinson felt, and in the most open manner 
had said, ought to be abridged. These, in his 
idea, were excesses, but they could be remedied 
without touching the charter. He was undoubt- 
edly wrong, of course, but there was nothing 
underhanded in his fight. He declares further 
that he wishes well to the colony, and therefore 
desires an abridgment of its liberty, and that 
he hopes no more severity will be shown than 
is necessary to secure its dependence. 

As to the other letters sent by Franklin at 
the same time with those of Hutchinson, there 
is no reason at all for supposing that the lat- 
ter had known anything about them. Oliver 
goes farther than the governor : he recommends 
changes in the constitution, hints at taking off 
the " principal incendiaries," and proposes the 
formation of a colonial aristocracy from whom 
the Council shall be drawn. Paxton demands 
plainly " two or three regiments." Oliver and 
Paxton did say enough to compromise them- 
selves, but they were comparatively small game, 


about whom the patriots cared little. We have 
now to see what was made out of these letters. 
For some months they remained in the hands 
of the patriots unused. In June, however, soon 
after the governor's return from Hartford, 
where he had been concerned with the settle- 
ment of the boundary line between New York 
and Massachusetts, a public service which 
he skillfully turned much to the advantage of 
the Province, Hancock informed the Assembly 
darkly that within eight-and-forty hours a dis- 
covery would be made, which would have great 
results. This the spectators in James Otis's 
gallery caught up, and it was spread through- 
out the town and the Province. At the time 
named, Samuel Adams desired that the gal- 
leries might be cleared, as he had matters of 
profound moment to communicate. After the 
clearing, he spoke of a prevailing rumor that 
letters of an extraordinary nature had been 
written and sent to England, greatly to the 
prejudice of the Province. He added that he 
had obtained the letters and the consent of the 
person, who had received them to their being 
read to the House, under the restriction, how- 
ever, that they were neither to be printed nor 
copied, in whole or part. The letters were 
then read. After the reading, amid these mys- 
terious surroundings, a committee reported, the 


letters being lumped together, that they tended 
and were designed to overthrow the constitution 
of government and to introduce arbitrary power 
into the Province. The report was accepted al- 
most unanimously. These proceedings were 
spread abroad, and the curiosity of the people 
became wonderfully roused as to what the 
dreadful letters contained. This temper of 
mind was stimulated by rollings of the eyes 
and raisings of the hands on the part of the 
Whig leaders over the enormities which could 
not be spoken. 

Hutchinson did not prorogue the Court, which 
would have looked like an attempt on his part 
to smother the subject, indicative of conscious- 
ness of guilt ; but he sent a message asking 
for copies of the letters, declaring that he had 
never written letters, public or private, of any 
such character as was reported. The House re- 
plied by sending him the dates, and asking him 
for copies of his letters written on those dates. 
Hutchinson declined to send the copies, on the 
ground that there would be an impropriety in 
laying before them his private correspondence, 
and that he was restrained by the king from 
showing that of a public nature. But he said 
that he could assure them that neither private 
nor public letters of his " tended, or were de- 
signed to subvert, but rather to preserve entire 


the constitution of the government." He de- 
clared that his letters, of the dates mentioned 
by the House, contained nothing different from 
what had been published in his speeches to 
the Assembly, as well as to the world in his 
history, and that none of them related to the 

The popular pressure to know more of the 
direful discoveries became very earnest. Han- 
cock at length told the House that copies of 
the letters had been put into his hands in the 
street. These were found upon comparison to 
correspond with the letters in possession of the 
House, and a committee was appointed to con- 
sider how the House might become "honora- 
bly " possessed of the letters, so that they could 
be published. Hawley soon reported from this 
committee that Samuel Adams had said that, 
since copies of the letters were already abroad, 
the gentleman from whom the letters them- 
selves were received gave his consent that they 
should be copied and printed. The legislature 
then ordered that the letters should be printed ; 
but beforehand, with very Yankee cunning, 
they took pains to circulate everywhere their 
resolves. These resolves, putting as they did 
the worst construction upon the letters, declar- 
ing that they tended to alienate the affections 
of the king, to produce severe and destructive 


measures, and that they contained proofs of a 
conspiracy against the country, went to all the 
towns. As if Hutchinson had been privy to, if 
not the author of all the letters, the implication 
was that it was right to hold him responsible 
for everything they contained. The towns be- 
came prepossessed with the darkest anticipa- 

The printed letters were at length allowed to 
go forth. In the popular excitement, and in- 
fluenced by the interpretation which had been 
given to them, the people universally saw abom- 
inable treachery in what was really harmless. 
In the midst of the rage against the governor, 
a petition for his removal and that of Oliver 
was dispatched by the legislature to Franklin, 
to be presented to the ministry. The rough 
draft of this petition, in the hand of Samuel 
Adams, runs as follows : 


June 23, 1773. 

Nothing but a Sense of the Duty we owe to our 
Sovereign and the obligation we are under to consult 
the Peace and Safety of the Province could induce 
us to remonstrate to your Majesty the Malconduct of 
those who, having been born and educated and con- 
stantly resident in the Province and who formerly 
have had ye confidence and were loaded with ye hon- 
ours of this People, your Majesty, we conceive from 


the purest Motives of rendering the People most 
happy, was graciously pleased to advance to the high- 
est places of Trust and Authority in the Province. 
. . . We do therefore most humbly beseech your 
Majesty to give order that Time may be allowed to 
us to support these our Complaints by our Agents 
and Council. And as the said Thomas Hutchinson, 
Esq., and Andrew Oliver, Esq., have by their above 
mentioned Conduct and otherwise rendered themselves 
justly obnoxious to your Majesty's loving Subjects, 
we pray that your Majesty will be graciously pleased 
to remove them from their posts in this government, 
and place such good and faithfull men in their stead 
as your Majesty in your great Wisdom shall think fit. 

This transaction, which has been dwelt on at 
considerable length, deserves attention because 
it is probably the least defensible proceeding 
in which the patriots of New England were 
concerned during the Revolutionary struggle. 
Nothing can be more sly than the manoeu- 
vring throughout. The end aimed at, to excite 
against Hutchinson the strongest animosity at 
a time when his management of the controversy 
as to parliamentary authority had made an 
impression of ability, and his service in settling 
the boundary line so satisfactorily might have 
conciliated some good-will, was completely suc- 
cessful. His position was henceforth intoler- 
able. When one reads at this distance of time 


the little pamphlet containing the letters, which 
the General Court caused to be published, one 
sees plainly the justice of the remark of Dr. 
George E. Ellis : " The whole affair is a mar- 
velously strong illustration of the most vehe- 
ment possible cry, with the slightest possible 
amount of wool." 

Without this means of forming a judgment 
for ourselves, Hutchinson's statements as to the 
matter would require to be taken with much 
allowance. View them in connection with this 
plain evidence, however, and they have great 
weight, and it is hard to resist the conviction 
that the man was deeply injured. He said : 
" They [the letters] have been represented as 
highly criminal, though there is nothing more 
than what might naturally be expected from a 
confidential correspondence." l Again he de- 
clared them to be " the most innocent things in 
the world ; but if it had been Chevy Chace, the 
leaders are so adroit they would have made the 
people believe it was full of evil and treason." 2 
The following letter, written a little later in 
the year, copied here from Hutchinson's letter- 
book, contains a clear and manly statement : 

" I differ in my principles from the present leaders 
of the people. ... I think that by the constitution 

1 From Hutchinson's manuscript, Mass. Archiv. 
3 From manuscript in Mass. Archiv. 


of the colonies the Parliament has a supreme author- 
ity over them. I have nevertheless always been an 
advocate for as large a power of legislation within 
each colony as can consist with a supreme controul. 
I have declared against a forcible opposition to the 
execution of acts of Parliament which have laid taxes 
on the people of America; I have notwithstanding 
ever wished that such acts might not be made as the 
Stamp Act in particular. I have done everything in 
my power that they might be repealed. I do not see 
how the people in the colonies can enjoy every lib- 
erty which the people in England enjoy, because in 
England every man may be represented in Parlia- 
ment, the supreme authority over the whole ; but in 
the colonies, the people, I conceive, cannot have rep- 
resentatives in Parliament to any advantage. It gives 
me pain when I think it must be so. I wish also 
that we may enjoy every priviledge of an English- 
man which our remote situation will admit of. These 
are sentiments which I have without reserve declared 
among my private friends, in my speeches and mes- 
sages to the General Court, in my correspondence 
with the ministers of state, and I have published 
them to the world in my history ; and yet I have been 
declared an enemy and a traitor to my country be- 
cause in my private letters I have discovered the 
same sentiments, for everything else asserted to be 
contained in those letters, I mean of mine, unfriendly 
to the country, I must deny as altogether groundless 
and false." 

On a fly-leaf of his diary two years later, 


after quoting a sentence from Erasmus as to the 
injustice of garbled quotations from a man's 
words, he continues : " How applicable is this 
to the case of my letters to Whately, and the 
expression, 4 there must be an abridgment of 
what are called English liberties ! ' Every- 
thing which preceded and followed, which 
would have given the real sentiment and taken 
away all the odium, was left out." 

It is hard to palliate the conduct of the pa- 
triots. Had the leaders lost in the excitement 
of the controversies the power of weighing 
words properly, and did they honestly think 
Hutchinson's expressions deserved such an in- 
terpretation ? Did they honestly believe that 
it was right to hold him responsible for what 
Oliver and Paxton had said? Unfortunately 
there is some testimony to show that their con- 
duct was due to deliberate artifice. Says their 
victim : 

" When some of the governor's friends urged to 
the persons principally concerned . . . the unwar- 
rantableness of asserting or insinuating what they 
knew to be false and injurious, they justified them- 
selves from the necessity of the thing; the public 
interest, the safety of the people, making it abso- 
lutely necessary that his weight and influence among 
them should by any means whatever be destroyed." 

Further, if Hutchinson's testimony in his 


own case is not to be received, what are we to 
say of Franklin's suspicious hint, who, in trans- 
mitting the letters, counsels the use of mystery 
and manoeuvring, that, u as distant objects seen 
only through a mist appear larger, the same 
may happen from the mystery in this case." l 
There never were cooler heads than stood on 
the shoulders of some of those leaders ; it is 
impossible to think that they were blinded. 

The complicity of Samuel Adams with the 
whole affair is unmistakable. His name occurs 
constantly in the course of the proceedings ; his 
ascendency among the Whigs at the moment 
was at its highest. " Master of the puppets," 
his writhing adversary calls him, while also de- 
claring that through some kind of evil sorcery 
many of the representatives, in spite of them- 
selves, were made by him to vote against their 
will and judgment. The whole transaction has 
a more than questionable color, and though pa- 
triotic historians and biographers have been 
able to see nothing in it except, so to speak, a 
dove-like iridescence, an unprejudiced judge will 
detect the scaly gleam of a creature in better 
repute for his wisdom than his harmlessness, 
Dr. Johnson might have folded Hutchin3C>n 
and Samuel Adams to his burly breast in an 

1 G. E. Ellis, Atlantic Monthly, May, 1884, p. 672 ; also. Cur- 
wen's Jour., App., art. " Hutchinson." I cannot, however, find 
the letter to Cooper in which this passage is said to occur. 


ecstasy, such thoroughly good haters of one 
another were they. It is hard to say what the 
casuistry was which enabled the Puritan poli- 
tician, upright though he was, to make crooked 
treatment of his Tory bete noir square with his 
sense of right. Apparently he felt that Hutch- 
inson was the devil, who might rightly be fought 
with his own fire. 

Besides the controversy over the letters sent 
by Franklin, the House, in the summer session 
of 1773, discussed the independency of the 
judges of the Superior Court. A series of re- 
solves was passed demanding of those officers 
whether they would receive the grants of the 
Assembly or accept their support from the 
crown, and making it the indispensable duty 
of " the Commons " of the Province to impeach 
them before the governor and Council if their 
reply should be delayed. Hutchinson upon this 
at once prorogued the House. The term " the 
Commons " had only lately been applied to the 
Assembly. Says Hutchinson : 

" Mr. Adams would not neglect even small circum- 
stances. In four or five years a great change had 
been made in the language of the general Assembly. 
That which used to be called the * court-house,' or 
'town-house,' had acquired the name of the 'state- 
house ; ' the * House of Representatives of Massachu- 
setts Bay,' had assumed the name of * his majesty's 


Commons ; ' the debates of the Assembly are styled 
' parliamentary debates ; ' acts of Parliament, ' acts of 
the British Parliament ; ' the Province laws, ' the laws 
of the land ; ' the charter, a grant from royal grace or 
favor, is styled the ' compact ; ' and now * impeach ' is 
used for ' complain,' and the * House of Representa- 
tives ' are made analogous to the ' commons,' and the 
4 Council ' to the * Lords,' to decide in case of high 
crimes and misdemeanors." 

Townshend's revenue act of 1767, by which 
a tax was laid upon painters' colors, glass, paper, 
and tea, was passed less for the sake of gaining 
a revenue than for maintaining the abstract 
right of taxation. The yield had been from 
the first quite insignificant, and as has been 
seen, the tax was now entirely repealed, ex- 
cept upon the single article of tea. In the ham- 
pered commerce of that time, duties were lev- 
ied upon articles both when exported and when 
imported. In the present case the duty upon 
tea exported from England was taken off, and 
threepence a pound was assigned as the impost 
to be paid on the importation into America. 
As the export duties to be removed were far 
larger than this import duty, the tea could be 
sold for a price considerably lower than hereto- 
fore. A double benefit was hoped for, that 
the Americans, won by cheap tea, might be 
brought to acquiesce in a tax levied by Parlia- 


ment, and also that the prosperity of the impor- 
tant East India Company would be furthered, 
which for some time past, owing to the colonial 
non-importation agreements, had been obliged 
to see its tea accumulate in its warehouses, until 
the amount reached 17,000,000 pounds. The 
project was Lord North's, and passed Parlia- 
ment in May, by a large majority. 

Samuel Adams, forever alert, saw the danger 
in a moment, and was ready with his expedient. 
Steps must be forthwith taken for a closer bond 
among the colonies, u after the plan first pro- 
posed by Virginia." A congress of delegates, 
to meet at some central point, must be arranged 
for ; it was time for the representatives of the 
colonies to come together face to face. The 
credit of originating the idea of a continental 
congress belongs to Franklin, who in 1754 
brought about the congress at Albany. Its 
main object then, however, had been to take 
measures for a united resistance against the 
French. The Stamp Act congress, ten years 
later, suggested in Samuel Adams's often re- 
ferred to " instructions " of that year, was the 
first meeting of colonial delegates to resist Eng- 
land. In 1766, '68, '70, and '71, we find him 
pushing measures looking toward union ; now 
in 1773 he is outspoken and urgent. His posi- 
tion in the leading colony gave him an oppor 


tunity to work effectively, such as others else- 
where did not possess. When in July of this 
year Franklin wrote to Gushing from London 
suggesting a congress, Samuel Adams had al- 
ready hinted at it strongly in the preceding 
January, and Church in his oration on the 5th 
of March had uttered the prophetic passage 
that has been quoted. 

Samuel Adams urged during the present 
summer, in a series of essays in the " Boston 
Gazette," the project of a congress as the only 
salvation of the country. Though Hutchin- 
son was under obloquy, the cause of the Whigs 
was far from being in a satisfactory condition. 
Many were tired of controversy. Gushing, for 
instance, who had been addressed directly by 
Dartmouth, the colonial secretary, favored a 
submissive policy, believing that grievances 
would be redressed, " if these high points about 
the supreme authority of Parliament were to 
fall asleep." Such laxness Samuel Adams tried 
hard to counteract. Lord Dartmouth to be 
sure was thoroughly well-meaning. His marked 
religious character, unusual among men of his 
station, made him acceptable to the New Eng- 
landers. He proposed that there should be 
mutual concessions. Only submit and you 
shall be treated most graciously, was his tone. 
But Samuel Adams opposed with all his might. 


At length, as " Observation" in the " Boston 
Gazette," September 27, 1773, Samuel Adams 
wrote : 

" The very important dispute between Britain and 
America has, for a long time, employed the pens of 
statesmen in both countries, but no plan of union is 
yet agreed on between them ; the dispute still con- 
tinues, and everything floats in uncertainty. As I 
have long contemplated the subject with fixed atten- 
tion, I beg leave to offer a proposal to my country- 
men, namely, that a CONGRESS OF AMERICAN STATES 
be assembled as soon as possible ; draw up a Bill of 
Rights, and publish it to the world ; choose an am- 
bassador to reside at the British Court to act for the 
united Colonies ; appoint where the Congress shall 
annually meet, and how it may be summoned upon 
any extraordinary occasion, what farther steps are 
necessary to be taken, &c." 

Three weeks later, October 11, in the " Ga- 
zette " appeared the following : 

'* But the Question will be asked, How shall the 
Colonies force their Oppressors to proper Terms ? 
This Question has been often answered already by our 
Politicians, viz : * Form an Independent State,' ' AN 
proposed, and I can't find that any other is likely to 
answer the great Purpose of preserving our Liberties. 
I hope, therefore, it will be well digested and for- 
warded, to be in due Time put into Execution, un- 
less our Political Fathers can secure American Liber- 


ties in some other Way. As the Population, Wealth, 
and Power of this Continent are swiftly increasing, 
we certainly have no Cause to doubt of our Success 
in maintaining Liberty by forming a Commonwealth, 
or whatever Measure Wisdom may point out for the 
Preservation of the Rights of America." 

The legislative committee of correspondence 
had heretofore done little. Samuel Adams, 
who by means of the Boston committee had 
largely re-invigorated the spirit of liberty in the 
Province, now set the other agency at work, 
that a similar spirit might be sent throughout 
the thirteen colonies. It was necessary that 
Gushing, who, as speaker, was ex officio chair- 
man of the committee, should sign the mani- 
festo. Hutchinson's term " the puppets," of 
whom Samuel Adams was said to be the mas- 
ter, was perhaps more applicable to Gushing 
than to some of his fellows. By a skillful touch 
of the master's fingers, the respectable wooden 
personality that did duty as the legislative fig- 
ure-head, responded to his wire and danced to 
the patriot measure. The document is wiso, 
moderate, thoroughly appreciative of the cir- 
cumstances of the hour. 

" We are far from desiring," thus the paper con- 
cluded, " that the Connection between Britain and 
America should be broken. Esto perpetua is our ar- 
dent wish, but upon the Terms only of Equal Liberty. 


If we cannot establish an Agreement upon these 
terms, let us leave it to another and a wiser Genera- 
tion. But it may be worth Consideration, that the 
work is more likely to be well done at a time when 
the Ideas of Liberty and its Importance are strong in 
men's minds. There is Danger that these Ideas may 
grow ^faint and languid. Our Posterity may be 
accustomed to bear the Yoke, and being inured to 
Servility, they may even bow the Shoulder to the 
Burden. It can never be expected that a people, 
however numerous, will form and execute as wise 
plans to perpetuate their Liberty, when they have 
lost the Spirit and feeling of it." 

The document was of course written by Mr. 
Adams, and the selection given is copied from 
his autograph. 

Hutchinson now wrote to Dartmouth a letter 
containing the following passage. Speaking of 
the Whigs he said : 

" They have for their head one of the members 
from Boston, who was the first person that openly, 
in any public assembly, declared for absolute independ- 
ence, and who, from a natural obstinacy of temper, 
and from many years' practice in politics, is, perhaps, 
as well qualified to excite the people to any extrava- 
gance in theory or practice as any person in America. 
From large defalcations, as collector of taxes for the 
town of Boston, and other acts in pecuniary matters, 
his influence was small until within these seven years; 
but since that, it has been gradually increasing, until 


he has obtained such an ascendency as to direct the 
town of Boston and the House of Representatives, 
and consequently the Council, just as he pleases. A 
principle has been avowed by some who are attached 
to him, the most inimical that can be devised, that in 
political matters the public good is above all other 
considerations"; and every rule of morality, when in 
competition with it, may very well be dispensed with. 
Upon this principle, the whole proceeding, with re- 
spect to the letters of the governor and lieutenant- 
governor, of which he was the chief conductor, has 
been vindicated. In ordinary affairs, the counsels of 
the whole opposition unite. Whenever there appears 
a disposition to any conciliatory measures, this person, 
by his art and skill, prevents any effect ; sometimes 
by exercising his talents in the newspapers, an in- 
stance of which is supposed to have been given in 
the paper enclosed to your lordship in my letter, 
number twenty-seven, at other times by an open op- 
position, and this sometimes in the House, where he 
has defeated every attempt as often as any has been 
made. But his chief dependence is upon a Boston 
town-meeting, where he originates his measures, 
which are followed by the rest of the towns, and of 
course are adopted or justified by the Assembly. 

" I could mention to your lordship many instances 
of the like kind. To his influence it has been chiefly 
owing, that when there has been a repeal of acts of 
Parliament complained of as grievous, and when any 
concessions have been made to the Assembly, as the 
removal of it to Boston and the like, (notwithstanding 


the professions made beforehand by the moderate 
part of the opposition, that such measures would quiet 
the minds of the people,) he has had art enough to 
improve them to raise the people higher by assuring 
them, if they will but persevere, they may bring the 
nation to their own terms ; and the people are more 
easily induced to a compliance from the declaration 
made, that they are assured by one or two gentlemen 
in England, on whose judgment they can depend, 
that nothing more than a firm adhesion to their de- 
mands is necessary to obtain a compliance with every 
one of them. Could he have been made dependent, 
I am not sure that he might not have been taken off 
by an appointment to some public civil office. But, 
as the constitution of the Province is framed, such an 
appointment would increase his abilities, if not his 
disposition to do mischief, for he well knows that I 
have not a Council which in any case would consent 
to his removal, and nobody can do more than he to 
prevent my ever having such a Council." 



THE colonies generally were resolved not to 
receive the tea. Resolutions were adopted in 
Philadelphia, October 18, requesting the agents 
of the East India Company, who were to sell 
the tea, to resign, which they did. Boston at 
once followed the example. Acting upon the 
precedent of the time of the Stamp Act, when 
Oliver, the stamp commissioner, had resigned 
his commission under the Liberty Tree, a plac- 
ard was posted everywhere on the 3d of No- 
vember, inviting the people of Boston and the 
neighboring towns to be present at Liberty 
Tree that day at noon, to witness the resigna- 
tion of the consignees of the tea, and hear them 
swear to re-ship to London what teas should ar- 
rive. The placard closed, 

"I^^Show me the man that dares take this 

At the time appointed, representatives Ad- 
ams, Hancock, and Phillips, the selectmen and 
town clerk, with about five hundred more, were 


present at the Liberty Tree. But no consign- 
ees arrived, whereupon Molineux and Warren 
headed a party who waited upon them. The 
consignees, Clarke, a rich merchant, and his 
sons, Benjamin Faneuil, Winslow, and the two 
sons of Hutchinson, Thomas and Elisha, sat to- 
gether in the counting-house of Clarke in King 
Street. Admittance was refused the commit- 
tee, and a conversation took place through a 
window, during which the tone of the con- 
signees was defiant. There was some talk of 
violence, and when an attempt was made to 
exclude the committee and the crowd attending 
them from the building, into the first story of 
which they had penetrated, the doors were 
taken off their hinges and threats uttered. 
Molineux, generally impetuous enough, but 
now influenced probably by cooler heads, dis- 
suaded the others from violence. A few days 
later, a serious riot came near taking place be- 
fore the house of Clarke in School Street ; the 
people outside broke some windows, while from 
the inside a pistol was fired from the second 
story. Judicious men among the patriots, how- 
ever, exerted themselves successfully to prevent 
a repetition of the excesses at the time of the 
Stamp Act. 

A town-meeting on November 5, in which 
an effort of the Tories to make head against 


the popular feeling came to naught, showed 
how overwhelming was the determination to 
oppose the introduction of the tea. Precisely 
how the plans were organized precisely who 
many of the actors were in the few eventful 
weeks that remained of 1773, can now never 
be known. A frequent meeting-place was the 
room over the printing-office of Edes & Gill, 
now the corner of Court Street and Franklin Ave. 
Samuel Adams, never more fully the master 
than during these lowering autumn and winter 
days when such a, crisis was encountered, was 
often at the printing office ; and there and at 
meetings of the North End Club much was ar- 
ranged. No voice needs to speak out of the si- 
lence of those undercurrents to let us know that 
he was at the head. When news arrived on 
the 17th that three tea-ships were on the way 
to Boston, for a second time a town-meeting 
demanded through a committee, of which Sam- 
uel Adams was a member, the resignation of 
the consignees. They evaded the demand ; the 
town-meeting voted their answer not satisfac- 
tory, and at once adjourned without debate or 
comment. The silence was mysterious ; what 
was impending none could tell. 

The consignees, appreciating their danger, 
tried to shift their responsibility upon the gov- 
ernor and Council, but without effect. The 


Committee of Correspondence of the town, 
combining with itself the committees of Rox- 
bury, Dorchester, Brookline, Cambridge, and 
Charlestown, and so forming what Hutchinson 
called "a little senate," met frequently and 
maintained a general oversight. They pledged 
themselves to resist the landing and sale of the 
tea, and sent out through the Province a joint 
letter, the composition of Samuel Adams : 
" We think, gentlemen," this document said, 
" that we are in duty bound to use our most 
strenuous endeavors to ward off the impending 
evil, and we are sure that upon a fair and cool 
inquiry into the nature and tendency of the 
ministerial plan, you will think this tea now 
coming to us more to be dreaded than plague 
and pestilence." The necessity of resistance 
was strongly declared, and the advice of the 
committees urgently asked. 

The incipient union is becoming very plain 
at the time of the Boston tea-party. In the 
crises of an earlier date, each town or province 
had met the occasion in a condition of more or 
less isolation. Now, however, as never before, 
there appears a formal bond ; the newspapers 
teem with missives, not only from Massachu- 
setts towns, but from the colonies in general, 
expressing sympathy, fear that the peril will 
not be adequately met, encouragement to bold- 


ness, praise for decision, missives proceeding 
from the regularly organized committees, show- 
ing how the ligaments are knitting that are to 
bind so great a body. 

On the 28th, the first of the tea-ships, the 
Dartmouth, Captain Hall, sailed into the 
harbor. Sunday though it was, the Committee 
of Correspondence met, obtained from Benja- 
min Rotch, the Quaker owner of the Dart- 
mouth, a promise not to enter the vessel until 
Tuesday, and made preparations for a mass- 
meeting at Faneuil Hall for Monday forenoon, 
to which Samuel Adams was authorized to in- 
vite the surrounding towns. A stirring placard 
the next morning brought the townsmen and 
their neighbors to the place. After the organi- 
zation, Samuel Adams, arising among the thou- 
sands, moved that : " As the town have deter- 
mined at a late meeting legally assembled that 
they will to the utmost of their power prevent 
the landing of the tea, the question be now 
put, whether this body are absolutely deter- 
mined that the tea now arrived in Captain Hall 
shall be returned to the place from whence it 
came." There was not a dissenting voice. The 
meeting had now become larger even than the 
famous one of the Massacre. As usual they 
surged across King Street to the Old South, 
once more under the eyes of Hutchinson, who, 


as at the time of the Massacre, who could look 
down upon them from the chamber in the State 
House where he was sitting with the Council. 
Samuel Adams's motion was repeated, with the 
addition : " Is it the firm resolution of this 
body that the tea shall not only be sent back, 
but that no duty shall be paid thereon ? " 
Again there was no dissenting voice. In the 
afternoon, the meeting having resolved that the 
tea should go back in the same ship in which 
it had come, Rotch, the owner of the Dart- 
mouth, protested, but was sternly forbidden, at 
his peril, to enter the tea. Captain Hall also 
was forbidden to land any portion of it. " Ad- 
ams was never in greater glory," says Hutch- 

The next morning, November 30, the peo- 
ple again assembling, the consignees made it 
known that it was out of their power to send 
the tea back; but they promised that they 
would store it until word should come from 
their " constituents " as to its disposal. While 
tne meeting deliberated, Greenleaf, the sheriff 
of Suffolk, appeared with a message from the 
governor. Samuel Adams gave it as his judg- 
ment that the sheriff might be heard ; upon 
which the paper was read. Hutchinson blamed 
the meeting sharply, and concluded by " warn- 
ing, exhorting, and requiring " the assemblage 


to disperse, and to " surcease all further unlaw- 
ful proceedings at their utmost peril." The 
crowd hissed the official heartily, who at once 
beat a retreat. Copley, the artist, who has al- 
ready appeared in our story as painting tli3 
portrait of the "man of the town-meeting," 
at the time when the regiments were driven to 
the Castle, was much liked for his honesty and 
good -nature. As the son-in-law of the con- 
signee, Richard Clarke, and at the same time 
popular in the town, he was well-fitted to be 
a mediator. He now asked of the meeting 
whether the consignees would be civilly treated, 
if they should appear before it. Upon assur- 
ance that they would be, he went at once to 
the Castle, whither the Clarkes had betaken 
themselves, one must allow with perfect good 
reason, if they valued their safety. He could 
not prevail upon them, however, to face the 
assembly, and not long after we find him on 
the Tory side, until at length he leaves Amer- 

The Dartmouth each night was watched by 
a strong guard ; armed patrols, too, were es- 
tablished, and six couriers held themselves 
ready, if there should be need, to alarm the 
country. The most vigorous resolutions were 
passed, and a committee was appointed, with 
Samuel Adams at the head, to send intelligence 


far and wide. During the first week in De- 
cember arrived the Eleanor and the Beaver, 
also tea-ships, which were moored near the 
Dartmouth, and subjected to the same over- 
sight. The "True Sons of Liberty" posted 
about the town the most spirited placards. 
From the sister towns the post-riders came 
spurring in haste with responses to the mani- 
festo of the Committee of Correspondence, all 
which Samuel Adams took care to have at once 
published, with whatever rumors there might 
be as to the conduct of the other provinces re- 
specting tea, which, as all knew, might be ex- 
pected to arrive in other ports besides Boston. 

Hutchinson, in spite of himself, had become, 
one is forced to say through the machinations 
of the Whigs, little more than a cipher in his 
own jurisdiction. His influence was for the 
time being completely broken down, and though 
the fleet lay in the harbor, and the weak regi- 
ments were at the Castle, yet the popular man- 
ifestation was so general and threatening that 
he could make no head against it. It is absurd 
to accuse him or the consignees of cowardice 
because they felt they were in danger in the 
town. The latter had good reason to seek the 
protection of the Castle, and the governor 
might well prefer to occupy his country house. 
For several times the air was full of riot, and 


Hutchinson and his friends had cause to know 
that a Boston riot might be a terrible thing. 
The governor could not depend upon any jus- 
tice of the peace to make a requisition for the 
use of the military. Whether he himself had 
power to make such a requisition lawfully was 
a matter open to doubt. He could expect no 
support from his Council, his own party were 
completely overawed. He showed no want of 
spirit at this time. Says Richard Frothing- 
ham : " His course does not show one sign of 
vacillation from first to last, but throughout 
bears the marks of clear, cold, passionless in- 
flexibility." It is rather amusing to read his 
summons to Hancock, commander of the Bos- 
ton cadets, to hold his force in readiness for the 
preservation of order ; for Hancock, however 
he may have coquetted with the Tories shortly 
before, was now a red-hot Whig, as were most 
of the cadets, who were in great part them- 
selves in the " rabble." The governor de- 
nounced, threatened, pleaded, without yielding 
a hair from his position that the authority of 
Parliament must be maintained, although, as 
we know now, it went sorely against his wish 
that the tax on tea was retained, and he would 
gladly have had things as they were before the 
Stamp Act. 

The days flew by. At length came the end 


of the time of probation. If the cargo of the 
Dartmouth had not been "entered " within that 
period, the ship, according to the revenue laws, 
must be confiscated. Rotch, the Quaker owner, 
had signified his willingness to send the ship 
back to England with the cargo on board, if he 
could procure a clearance. The customs offi- 
cials stood on technicalities ; under the circum- 
stances a clearance could not be granted. The 
grim British admiral ordered the Active and 
the Kingfisher from his fleet to train their 
broadsides on the channels, and sink whatever 
craft should try to go to sea without the 
proper papers. The governor alone had power 
to override these obstacles. It was competent 
for him to grant a permit which the revenue 
men and the admiral must respect. If he re- 
fused to do this, then on the next da} 7 the legal 
course was for the revenue officers to seize the 
Dartmouth and land the tea under the guns of 
the fleet. 

It was the 16th of December. A crowd of 
seven thousand filled the Old South and the 
streets adjoining. Nothing like it had ever 
been known. Town -meeting had followed 
town-meeting until the excitement was at fever 
heat. The indefatigable Committee of Corre- 
spondence had, as it were, scattered fire through- 
out the whole country. The people from deep 


in the interior had poured over the u Neck" into 
the little .peninsula to see what was coming ; 
the beacons were ready for lighting, and every- 
where eyes were watching, expecting to see 
them blaze. Poor Quaker Rotch, like his sect 
in general, quite indifferent to great political 
principles at stake, ready to submit to "the 
powers that be," and anxious about his pelf, 
felt himself, probably, the most persecuted of 
men, when the monster meeting forced him m 
the December weather to make his way out to 
Milton Hill to seek the permit from Hutchin- 
son. While the merchant journeyed thither 
and back, the great meeting deliberated. Even 
as ardent a spirit as Josiah Quincy counseled 
moderation ; but when the question was put 
whether the meeting would suffer the tea to 
be landed, the people declared against it unan- 

Meantime darkness had fallen upon the 
short winter day. The crowd still waited in 
the gloom of the church, dimly lighted here 
and there by candles. Rotch reappeared just 
after six, and informed the meeting that the 
governor refused to grant the permit until the 
vessels were properly qualified. As soon as 
the report had been made, Samuel Adams 
arose, for it was he who had been moderator, 
and exclaimed : " This meeting can do nothing 


more to save the country." It was evidently a 
concerted signal, for instantly the famous war- 
whoop was heard, and the two or three score of 
" Mohawks " rushed by the doors, and with the 
crowd behind them hurried in the brighten- 
ing moonlight to Griffin's wharf, where lay the 
ships. The tea could not go back to England ; 
it must not be landed. The cold waters of the 
harbor were all that remained for it. Three 
hundred and forty-two chests were cast over- 
board. Nothing else was harmed, neither per- 
son nor property. All was so quiet that those 
at a distance even could hear in the calm air 
the ripping open of the thin chests as the tea 
was emptied. The "Mohawks" found helpers, 
so that in all perhaps one hundred and fifty 
were actively concerned. Not far off in the 
harbor lay the ships of the fleet, and the Castle 
with the " Sam Adams regiments." But no 
one interfered. The work done, the " Mohawks " 
marched to the fife and drum through the 
streets, chaffing on the way Admiral Montague, 
who was lodging in the town. He gave a surly 
growl in return, which tradition has preserved. 
" Well, boys, you 've had a fine pleasant even- 
ing for your Indian caper, have n't you ? But 
mind, you have got to pay the fiddler yet ! " 
" Oh, never mind ! " shouted Pitts, the leader, 
*' never mind, squire ; just come out here, if 


you please, and we '11 settle the bill in two 
minutes." 1 

Next morning, while the good Bohea, soaked 
by the tide, was heaped in windrows on the 
Dorchester shore, the rueful Boston mothers 
steeped from catnip and pennyroyal a cup 
which certainly could not inebriate, and which 
even Sam Adams's robust patriotism could 
hardly have regarded as cheering. 

Through this whole crisis Hancock was in 
the front, like a brave man, risking his life and 
his means. Warren, too, and another public- 
spirited physician, Dr. Thomas Young, who soon 
after, by removal from the country, brought to 
an end a career which had promised to become 
illustrious, were earnestly engaged. To these 
must be added Josiah Quiney, John Pitts, John 
Scollay, and the other selectmen, with William 
Cooper, the intrepid town clerk. But in the 
whole affair Samuel Adams was more than ever 
the supreme mind. To his discretion was left 
the giving of the signal ; as the controller of 
the Committee of Correspondence, he was prac- 
tically the ruler of the town ; his spirit per- 
vaded every measure. In regard to the whole 
secret development, which can now never be 
known, it is probable that his influence was 
no less dominant than in what was done be- 
fore the world. 

1 Lossing's Field Book, \. 499. 


The couriers galloped with all the four winds 
to spread the news, Paul Revere reaching 
Philadelphia shortly before Christmas. Here 
is a specimen of the hastily prepared notes 
they carried from the Committee of Corre- 
spondence. It is copied from the autograph in 
Samuel Adams's papers, the 's for the most 
part uncrossed, and punctuation neglected in 
the breathless haste in which it was written. 

BOSTON, Dec. llth, 1773. 

GENTLEMEN, We inform you in great Haste 
that every chest of Tea on board the three Ships in 
this Town was destroyed the last evening without the 
least Injury to the Vessels or any other property. 
Our Enemies must acknowledge that these people 
have acted upon pure and upright Principle, the 
people at the Cape will we hope behave with pro- 
priety and as becomes men resolved to save their 

To Plyrn 

& to Sandwich with this addition 

We trust you will afford them 
Your immediate Assistance and Advice. 

The reference at the close of the note is to 
still a fourth tea-ship which had been cast away 
on the back of Cape Cod. 



THE Boston leaders were now in great dan- 
ger of arrest and deportation to England for 
trial, the members of the Committee of Corre- 
spondence in particular being shadowed by spies 
who tried to obtain all information that could 
be made to count against them. For mutual 
protection fifteen members of the committee 
bound themselves to support and vindicate one 
another, by an agreement which it is interest- 
ing to read. In this document a circumstance 
slight in itself, but important as revealing the 
recognized leadership of Samuel Adams, is to 
be noticed. The first signer is a worthy citi- 
zen, Robert Pierpont, but the name has been 
erased, and that of Samuel Adams put in its 
place, Pierpont and the other associates coming 
afterward. Plainly the committee regarded it 
as presumptuous that any name should be writ- 
ten before his. The energy of the body was 
untiring. South Carolina was encouraged, and 
the tea received there was left to rot in cellars 


in Charleston. Philadelphia and New York 
responded with equal spirit. Through the com- 
mittees the thirteen colonies were now linked, 
and the desire for a Congress was becoming 
general and imperative. 

When the legislature met in January, 1774, 
to which time it had been prorogued, Samuel 
Adams vindicated the Committees of Corre- 
spondence and their activity in the intervals 
between the sessions, in reply to a message of 
Hutchinson, who declared the king's disappro- 
bation of such institutions. Comparing the 
state papers of the veteran disputant at this 
time with those of ten years previous, one notes 
a change in the grounds upon which he chooses 
to base his striving. There is less reference to 
precedents and documentary authorities, and 
more frequent appeal to natural right. " The 
welfare and safety of the people," " the good 
of the people," are phrases which appear 
more often. Whether it was that he felt that 
he could express himself more freely since 
public sentiment had become so far educated, 
or whether his own conceptions ripened and 
altered, his arguments and his watchwords be- 
came different. Hutchinson wrote : 

44 The leaders here seem to acknowledge that their 
cause is not to be defended on constitutional princi- 
ples, and Adams now gives out that there is no need 


of it ; they are upon better ground ; all men have a 
natural right to change a bad constitution for a better, 
whenever they have it in their power." \ 

Elsewhere, too, Hutchinson declares to Lord 
Dartmouth that a principle had been avowed 
by the patriots that " the public good was above 
all considerations." 

An important topic during the present ses- 
sion was the one which had now for some time 
been agitated, and which had been pointedly 
dwelt upon at the session of the preceding 
summer, whether the judges of the Superior 
Court should be suffered to receive salaries 
from the king, and thus be made quite inde- 
pendent of the Province. The legislature had 
passed resolves requiring the judges to de- 
cline the royal grant ; and one of the five, 
Trowbridge, whose feeble bodily condition was 
believed, at any rate by the Tories, to have 
unnerved him, had obeyed. His associates fol- 
lowed his example. " One of them assured 
me," says Hutchinson, " that he was con- 
strained to a compliance, merely because his 
person, his wife and children, and his property, 
were at the mercy of the populace, from whom 
there was nothing which he had not to fear." 
Peter Oliver alone, the chief justice, refused to 
1 Copied from autograph in Mass. Arch. April 7, 1773. 


yield to the legislative pressure, and was at 
once taken in hand. The judges, in truth, 
seem to have been miserably starved. Even 
their door-keeper is said to have had a larger 
stipend than theirs. On circuits they traveled 
eleven hundred, sometimes thirteen hundred 
miles a year. The highest grant made to any 
one of them was ,120 a year, and it had been 
much less. The chief justice received only 
150. Small as the salary was, the grant was 
sometimes postponed. Respected members of 
the bench, not long before, had lived in penury 
and died insolvent. Peter Oliver set forth that 
he had been a justice of the Superior Court 
seventeen years; that his salary had been in- 
sufficient for his support ; that his estate had 
suffered, and that he had repeatedly had it in 
mind to resign, but had been encouraged to 
hope for something better. It had always been 
a hope deferred, and he announced that he 
proposed now to accept the offer of the king. 

When Oliver's purpose became plain, steps 
were promptly taken in the legislature for his 
impeachment. Hereupon sprang up a new con- 
troversy with the governor. The Assembly 
assumed that since the chief justice was ap- 
pointed by the governor by the advice and 
consent of the Council, the governor and 
Council by implication, though it might not 


be plainly expressed, possessed also a power 
of removal. Hutchinson declared that the gov- 
ernor and Council had no power to sit as a 
court in such a case ; and when the committee 
of the Assembly, with Samuel Adams at its 
head, presented themselves before the Council 
to institute proceedings, the governor held aloof. 
A neat piece of management here occurred, 
in which Adams and Bowdoin played into one 
another's hands as they had long been accus- 
tomed to do, dexterously circumventing an ob- 
stacle, and making a precedent sure to be 
afterwards useful. Poor Hutchinson, not less 
shrewd than they, saw it all, but he had be- 
come the merest shadow of power. 

41 Mr. Adams addressed the Council in this form : 
4 May it please your Excellency and the honorable 
Council.' Mr. Bowdoin, no doubt by concert, ob- 
served to him that the governor was not in Council. 
This gave opportunity for an answer : * The governor 
is " presumed " to be present.' This was certainly a 
very idle presumption. It gave pretense, however, 
for Mr. Adams to report to the House, and, being 
clerk of the House, afterwards to enter upon the 
journals, that the committee had impeached the chief 
justice before the governor and Council, and prayed 
that they would assign a time for hearing and deter- 
mining thereon." 

The cunning coryphosi of the two houses in 


this way were preparing to dispense with the 
governor entirely. He prorogued the Court 
before proceedings could go further, sending 
his secretary for that purpose. The Council 
received the message, but the House barred its 
door against him until they had completed cer- 
tain important measures. The last act of the 
session, while the door was still kept fast, was 
to direct the Committee of Correspondence to 
write to Franklin with respect to the public 
grievances, the final appeal, direct or indi- 
rect, which Massachusetts made for redress. 

Hutchinson, broken in health by the treat- 
ment he had received from a people whom he 
sincerely loved and honestly desired to serve, 
begged the king for leave of absence. It was 
promptly granted, and the governor would have 
early availed himself of it, but for the death of 
Andrew Oliver, the lieutenant-governor. If 
Hutchinson should now absent himself, author- 
ity must fall into the hands of the Council, 
which would be a complete surrender to the 
Whigs. He therefore postponed his departure 
until a new appointment could be made. 

On the 5th of March the oration in com- 
memoration of the Massacre was given by John 
Hancock. He is described as making a fine ap- 
pearance, and produced upon the vast assembly 
a great impression. Wells, whose admiration 


for his great-grandfather is perfectly unquali- 
fied, insists, with rather na'ive unconsciousness 
that there can be anything crooked in such a 
proceeding, that Samuel Adams wrote the ora- 
tion for Hancock, and then sat blandly by as 
moderator while the people were deceived into 
the belief that the man who surpassed all in 
social graces and length of purse could thun- 
der also from the rostrum with the best. At 
the end, moreover, the moderator, at the head 
of the committee appointed by the meeting, 
thanked the orator in the name of the town for 
his " elegant and spirited oration." Really 
there is nothing in the character of either man, 
it must be admitted with some sadness, to 
make the assertion seem unreasonable. Han- 
cock was quite capable, as in his love for pop- 
ularity he wooed the turbulent crowd, of appro- 
priating without acknowledgment the strength 
of some convenient Siegfried, standing invisible 
at his side. As to Adams, since we have been 
forced to believe that he had a principal hand 
in the manoeuvring as regards Hutchinson's 
letters, it will require no strain to believe him 
capable of a peccadillo, so trifling in compar- 
ison, as lending Hancock a little brains, that he 
might gain a credit he did not deserve. The 
transaction has unquestionably a good side. 
The cause would be helped by a spirited, patri- 


otic speech from the handsome, well-born man 
whose wealth and prodigality gave him pres- 
tige. Hancock, too, would be pleased, and so 
more firmly bound. No American public man 
ever postponed more utterly the thought of 
self than Samuel Adams. Only let the cause 
be helped ! No man's end was ever better, but 
now and then in the means there was a touch 
of trickery. 

When the news of the Boston tea-party 
reached England, Parliament, naturally much 
incensed, prepared promptly to retaliate. Says 
the authority from whom so much has been 
taken, whose help, however, we are about to 
lose : 

" This was the boldest stroke which had yet been 
struck in America. . . . The leaders feared no con- 
sequences. And it is certain that ever after this time 
an opinion was easily instilled and was constantly in- 
creasing, that the body of the people had also gone 
too far to recede, and that an open and general revolt 
must be the consequence ; and it was not long before 
actual preparations were visibly making for it in 
most parts of the Province." 

While one party thus girded itself for a war 
that was no longer to consist in words, the 
other party pressed on with equal spirit. The 
first retaliatory measure was the Boston Port 
Bill, which passed about the end of March in 


spite of the strenuous opposition of the friends 
of America, and against the best judgment also 
of Hutchinson and some of the wiser Tories. 
The faithful Colonel Barre showed at this time 
a curious inconsistency and confusion of ideas. 
In a speech which causes one almost to believe 
that the good veteran at the time had fortified 
himself for his forensic bout with a nip of 
Dutch courage, he declared " that he liked the 
measure, harsh as it was ; he liked it for its 
moderation. . . . He said, I think Boston ought 
to be punished. She is your oldest son. (Here 
the House laughed)." l A fortnight later, how- 
ever, he stood sturdily with Burke and Pownall 
in strong opposition. By the Port Bill all ships 
were forbidden to enter or depart from the port 
of Boston, until the contumacious town should 
agree to pay for the destroyed tea, and in other 
respects make the king sure of its willingness 
to submit. Many who had hitherto been brave 
showed now a disposition to quail. Franklin 
wrote from England to the four Boston repre- 
sentatives, advising that compensation for the 
destroyed tea should be made to the East India 
Company, as a conciliatory step. Samuel Ad- 
ams dismissed the advice with the contemp- 
tuous remark that " Franklin might be a great 
philosopher, but that he was a bungling politi- 

1 Tudor's Otis, p. 438. 


A second act was also passed by Parliament 
to change the constitution of Massachusetts, 
according to which act the Council was to be 
appointed by the crown, the judges were to be 
appointed and removed by the governor, the 
juries were to be nominated and summoned by 
the sheriffs, instead of chosen among the peo- 
ple, and, most serious of all, an end was to be 
put to the free town-meetings, which henceforth 
were to assemble only as convened by the gov- 
ernor, and to discuss only such topics as he pre- 

A third act was designed to protect soldiers 
who might use violence in opposing popular 
disturbances. Such trials as those of Captain 
Preston and the men who fired at the Massacre 
were not to be repeated, but any persons sim- 
ilarly accused were to be sent to Great Britain, 
or to some other colony, to be judged. 

A fourth act, affecting Massachusetts less 
directly than the three which have been de- 
scribed, was, however, scarcely less exasperat- 
ing. It was known as the Quebec Act, and 
had as its ostensible object the settling of the 
constitution of Canada. But the measure did 
far more than this. In disregard of the charters 
and rights of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New 
York, and Virginia, the boundaries of " Que- 
bec " were extended to the region now occupied 


by Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wis- 
consin, the whole Northwest; for all this vast 
territory an arbitrary rule was decreed. There 
was to be no habeas corpus ; the people were 
to have no power ; the religion of the pope was 
not only tolerated, but favored. Said Thurlow, 
in the House of Commons : " It is the only 
proper constitution for the colonies; it ought 
to have been given to them all when first 
planted ; and it is what all now ought to be re- 
duced to." Measures were also taken to meet 
the case of riots, and special instructions were 
sent for the arrest, at a proper and convenient 
time, of Samuel Adams, as the " chief of the 
revolution " above all others. General Gage, 
commander-in-chief in America, was appointed 
to supersede Hutchinson temporarily, the quar- 
tering of soldiers upon the people was made 
legal, and arrangements were entered upon for 
increasing the military force. 

Meantime in the Province, the legislature 
being prorogued, and Hutchinson 's power prac- 
tically at an end, authority lay in the hands of 
the Committee of Correspondence. 

" The governor," says Hutchinson, " retained the 
title of captain-general, but he had the title only. 
The inhabitants in many parts of the Province were 
learning the use of fire-arms, but not under the offi- 
cers of the regiments to which they belonged They 


were forming themselves into companies for military 
exercise under officers of their own choosing, hinting 
the occasion there might soon be for employing their 
arms in defense of their liberties." 

Letters were addressed to the sister colonies, 
deploring their silence as to the question of 
parliamentary authority. Adams, writing to 
Franklin for the Committee, recapitulates the 
old positions : 

" It will be vain for any to expect that the people 
of this country will now be contented with a partial 
and temporary relief, or that they will be amused by 
court promises, while they see not the least relaxa- 
tion of grievances. By the vigilance and activity of 
Committees of Correspondence among the several 
towns in this Province, they have been wonderfully 
enlightened and animated. They are united in senti- 
ment, and their opposition to unconstitutional meas- 
ures of government is become systematical. Colony 
communicates freely with colony. There is a com- 
mon affection among them, the communis sensus ; 
and the whole continent is now become united in sen- 
timent and in opposition to tyranny. Their old good- 
will and affection for the parent country is not, how- 
ever, lost. If she returns to her former moderation 
and good humor, their affection will revive. They 
wish for nothing more than permanent union with 
her, upon the condition of equal liberty. This is all 
they have been contending for, and nothing short of 
this will, or ought to, satisfy them. When formerly 


the kings of England have encroached upon the liber- 
ties of their subjects, the subjects have thought it 
their duty to themselves and their posterity to con- 
tend with them till they were restored to the footing 
of the Constitution. The events of such struggles 
have sometimes proved fatal to crowned heads, 
perhaps they have never issued but in establishments 
of the people's liberties." 

Already Hutchinson had written to Dart- 
mouth : " There are some who are ready to go 
all the lengths of the chief incendiary, who is 
determined, he says, to get rid of every gov- 
ernor who obstructs them in their course to in- 
dependency." 1 Samuel Adams himself now 
wrote to Arthur Lee : 

" The body of the people are now in council. 
Their opposition grows into a system. They are 
united and resolute. And if the British administra- 
tion and government do not return to the principles 
of moderation and equity, the evil, which they profess 
to aim at preventing by their rigorous measures, will 
the sooner be brought to pass, viz., the entire separa- 
tion and independence of the colonies." 

News of the Port Bill and of the removal of 
the seat of government to Salem were received 
in Boston on the 10th of May, which was at 
the same time election day. The spirit of the 
town may be inferred from the voting. Of the 
1 From letter-book in Mass. Archiv. Julj 10, 1773. 


five hundred and thirty-six votes cast, Hancock 
received all, Samuel Adams all but one, and 
Gushing and Phillips were returned with nearly 
the same emphasis. The Committee of Corre- 
spondence on the same day issued an invita- 
tion to the Committees of the eight neighboring 
towns to meet them in convention on the 12th. 
The towns, Charlestown, Cambridge, Newton, 
Brookline, Roxbury, Dorchester, Lynn, and 
Lexington, were promptly on hand by their 
Committees. The proceedings were open to 
the public. Samuel Adams was moderator, 
while Joseph Warren, who every day now be- 
comes more conspicuous, managed proceedings 
on the floor. The injustice and cruelty of the 
act closing the port were denounced, and the 
idea indignantly spurned of purchasing exemp- 
tion from the penalty by paying for the tea. 
A circular letter prepared by Samuel Adams 
was sent from the convention to New England 
and the middle colonies. The paper, having 
pointed out the injustice and cruelty of the act 
by which the inhabitants had been condemned 
unheard, proceeds : 

" This attack, though made immediately upon us, 
is doubtless designed for every other colony who 
shall not surrender their sacred rights and liberties 
into the hands of an infamous ministry. Now, there- 
fore, is the time when all should be united in opposi 
tion to this violation of the liberties of all. . . . 


" The single question then is, whether you con- 
sider Boston as now suffering in the common cause, 
and sensibly feel and resent the injury and affront of- 
fered to her. If you do, and we cannot believe 
otherwise, may we not, from your approbation of 
our former conduct in defense of American liberty, 
rely on your suspending your trade with Great Brit- 
ain at least, which it is acknowledged will be a great 
but necessary sacrifice to the cause of liberty, and 
will effectually defeat the design of this act of re- 
venge. If this should be done, you will please con- 
sider it will be through a voluntary suffering, greatly 
short of what we are called to endure from the im- 
mediate haud of tyranny." 

The town, too, took action in the matter. 
May 13 a town-meeting was held, at which, 
after prayer by Dr. Samuel Cooper, William 
Cooper read the text of the Port Bill, which 
the meeting straightway pronounced repugnant 
to law, religion, and common sense. Samuel 
Adams was moderator. The Tories were out 
in force and strove hard to bring the meeting 
to an agreement to pay for the tea, which course 
would buy off the ministry from the enforce- 
ment of the act. As has been mentioned, even 
Franklin counseled this; but a truer instinct 
caused the Boston Whigs to regard such a 
course as a virtual admission that in destroying 
the tea they had done wrong, and a concession 


therefore of the principle for which they had 
been contending. They carried the day. Sam- 
uel Adams, as moderator, transmitted the action 
of Boston to all the colonies, accompanying his 
report with these words : 

" The people receive the edict with indignation. 
It is expected by their enemies, and feared by some 
of their friends, that this town singly will not be able 
to support the cause under so severe a trial. As the 
very being of every colony, considered as a free peo- 
ple, depends upon the event, a thought so dishonor- 
able to our brethren cannot be entertained as that 
this town will be left to struggle alone." 

Paul Revere, the patriot Mercury, carried 
the document and also the manifesto of the 
convention of Committees of Correspondence 
to New York and Philadelphia, consuming in 
his ride to the latter town six days. The effect 
of the papers was marvelous. Philadelphia 
recommended a Congress, and from every quar- 
ter came expressions of sympathy and promises 
of help. During the summer the people in all 
the New England and middle colonies came 
together, and for the most part adopted the 
phrase that " Boston must be regarded as suf- 
fering in the common cause." Everywhere 
there was manful resolution that Boston must 
be sustained. 

Thomas Gage, the new military governor, on 


the 13th of May, while the town-meeting just 
described was in session, sailed up the harbor 
in the frigate Lively, the cannon of which, 
a year later, were to open the battle of Bunker 
Hill. Landing first at the Castle, he entered 
the town on the 17th with great circumstance. 
Crowds filled the streets, and outwardly all was 
decorous and respectful. Hancock, at the head 
of the cadets, received him at the wharf ; there 
were proper ceremonies in the council chamber, 
and a great banquet at Faneuil Hall, where 
many loyal toasts were drunk. The day was 
raw and rainy, and the public temper, in spite 
of the outward show, no better. The instruc- 
tions of Gage were to proceed promptly against 
the ringleaders, who, as Dartmouth wrote, were 
regarded as having sufficiently compromised 
themselves by the tea-party to receive the 
heaviest punishment. Gage, however, was re- 
luctant to act, through a well-grounded pru- 
dence. Though his force was increased to four 
regiments, no leader could be arrested without 
certainty of a popular uprising not to be lightly 

We have now to bid farewell to a figure who 
has for more than ten years been scarcely less 
conspicuous in these pages than Samuel Adams 
himself. So far as the unfortunate Thomas 



Hutchinson is concerned, the battle is over. As 
he disappears from the scene, the reader will 
not feel that it is an undue use of time if a 
page or two is devoted to a final consideration 
of him and the class he represented. 

History, at this late date, can certainly afford 
a compassionate word for the Tories, who, be- 
sides having been forced to atone in life for the 
mistake of taking the wrong side by undergo- 
ing exile and confiscation, have received while 
in their graves little but detestation. At the 
evacuation of Boston, says Mr. Sabine in the 
" American Loyalists," eleven hundred loyal- 
ists retired to Nova Scotia with the army of 
Gage, of whom one hundred and two were men 
in official station, eighteen were clergymen, two 
hundred and thirteen were merchants and tra- 
ders of Boston, three hundred and eighty-two 
were farmers and mechanics, in great part from 
the country. The mere mention of calling and 
station in the case of the forlorn, expatriated 
company conveys a suggestion of respectability. 
There were, in fact, no better men or women in 
Massachusetts, as regards intelligence, substan- 
tial good purpose, and piety. They had made 
the one great mistake of conceding a supremacy 
over themselves to distant arbitrary masters, 
which a population nurtured under the influ- 
ence of the revived folk-mote ought by no 


means to have made ; but with this exception, 
the exiles were not at all inferior in worth of 
every kind to those who drove them forth. The 
Tories were generally people of substance, their 
stake in the country was greater even than that 
of their opponents, their patriotism, no doubt, 
was to the full as fervent. There is much that 
is melancholy, of which the world knows but 
little, connected with their expulsion from the 
land they sincerely loved. The estates of the 
Tories were among the fairest ; their stately 
mansions stood on the sightliest hill - brows ; 
the richest and best tilled meadows were their 
farms ; the long avenue, the broad lawn, the 
trim hedge about the garden, servants, plate, 
pictures, the varied circumstance, external 
and internal, of dignified and generous house- 
keeping, for the most part, these things were 
at the homes . of Tories. They loved beauty, 
dignity, and refinement. It seemed to belong 
to such forms of life to be generously loyal to 
king and Parliament, without questioning too 
narrowly as to rights and taxes. The rude 
contacts of the town-meeting were full of things 
to offend the taste of a gentleman. The crown 
officials were courteous, well-born, congenial, 
having behind them the far away nobles and 
the sovereign, who rose in the imagination, 
unknown and at a distance as they were, sur- 


rounded by a brilliant glamour. Was there 
not a certain meanness in haggling as to the 
tax which these polite placemen and their su- 
periors might choose to exact, or inquiring 
narrowly as to their credentials when they 
chose to exercise authority ? The graceful, the 
chivalrous, the poetic, the spirits over whom 
these feelings had power, were sure to be To- 
ries. Democracy was something rough and 
coarse ; independence, what was it but a sev- 
ering of those connections of which a colonist 
ought to be proudest I It was an easy thing to 
be led into taking sides against notions like 
these. Hence, when the country rose, many a 
high-bred, honorable gentleman turned the key 
in his door, drove down his line of trees with 
his refined dame and carefully guarded children 
at his side, turned his back on his handsome 
estate, and put himself under the shelter of the 
proud banner of St. George. It was a mere 
temporary refuge, he thought, and as he pro- 
nounced upon " Sam Adams "and the rabble a 
gentlemanly execration, he promised himself 
a speedy return, when discipline and loyalty 
should have put down the ship-yard men and 
the misled rustics. 

But the return was never to be. The day 
went against them ; they crowded into ships 
with the gates of their country barred forever 


behind them. They found themselves penni- 
less upon shores often bleak and barren, always 
showing scant hospitality to outcasts who came 
empty-handed, and there they were forced to 
begin life anew. Having chosen their side, 
their lot was inevitable. Nor are the victors to 
be harshly judged. There was no unnecessary 
cruelty shown to the loyalists. The land they 
had left belonged to the new order of things, 
and, good men and women though they were, 
there was nothing for them, and justly so, but 
to bear their expatriation and poverty with 
such fortitude as they could find. Gray, 
Clarke, Erving, and Faneuil, Royall and 
Vassall, Fayerweather and Leonard and Sewall 
families of honorable note, bound in with all 
that was best in the life of the Province, 
who now can think of their destiny unpitying? 
Let tis glance at the stories of two or three 
whose names have become familiar to the reader 
in these pages. 

Andrew Oliver, the lieutenant - governor, 
thought Parliament ought to be supreme. 
With perfect honesty he upheld his view, be- 
lieving not only that it was England's right, 
but that in this sovereignty lay his country's 
only chance for peace and order. The old Tory 
atoned heavily for his mistake in life and even 
in death. It broke his heart when his pri- 


vate letters, sent by Franklin, were used to 
rouse against him the people's ill-will. In the 
streets he was exposed to execration. At his 
funeral the Assembly, taking umbrage because 
precedence was given to the officers of the army 
and navy, withdrew, insisting even in presence 
of the corpse upon an unseemly punctilio. 
When the body was lowered into the grave the 
people cheered, and Peter Oliver, the chief jus- 
tice, was prevented by fear for his life from do- 
ing a brother's office at the burial. 

Stout Timothy Ruggles was the son of the 
minister of Rochester. He was six feet six 
inches tall, and as stalwart in spirit as in frame. 
He became a soldier, and as the French wars 
proceeded was greatly distinguished for his ad- 
dress and audacity. At the battle of Lake 
George he was second in command, having 
charge especially of the New England rilarks- 
men, whose sharp fire it was that caused the 
defeat of the Baron Dieskau. As a lawyer, af- 
ter his return from his campaigns, his reputa- 
tion equaled that which he had gained in the 
field. His bold, incisive character, and a caus- 
tic wit which he possessed, caused men to give 
way before him. John Adams, in 1759, men- 
tions Ruggles first and most prominently in 
making a comparison of the leading lawyers of 
the Province, and tells us in what his u grand- 


eur " consisted. Ruggles then lived in Sand- 
wich, but removing soon after to Hard wick in 
Worcester County, he laid out for himself a 
noble domain, greatly benefiting the agriculture 
of the neighborhood by the introduction of im- 
proved methods, by choice stock and an appli- 
cation of energy and intelligence in general. 
In public and professional life he was a rival of 
the Otises, father and son. He was at one time 
speaker of the Assembly. He was president of 
the Stamp Act congress in New York, where 
his opposition to the patriot positions caused 
him to be censured. As the conflict between 
crown and Assembly proceeded, he was one 
of Samuel Adams's most dreaded opponents. 
Through force of character he did much to 
infuse a loyalist tone into the western part of 
the Province, which might have been fatal to 
the Whigs, had there not been on the spot a 
man of Hawley'g strength to counteract it. In 
the Assembly he was Hutehinson's main re- 
liance, able to accomplish little on account of 
the overwhelming Whig majority, but always 
consistently working for the ideas in which he 
believed. When war became certain, " Brig- 
adier " Ruggles was counted as the best of the 
veterans who still survived from the struggles 
with the French ; he was much more distin- 
guished than Washington. On the day of the 


battle of Lexington he organized a force of 
loyalists, two hundred strong. Later he was 
in arms on Long Island. But fortune no more 
favored him. As an exile in Nova Scotia he 
fared as best he could, dying at last in 1798, a 
man without a country. 

But of all the Americans who took the loyal 
side at the Revolution, Thomas Hutchinson is 
the most distinguished figure. His early career 
lias been already sketched. His work as a 
financier had been particularly important, his 
ability in this direction being conceded by his 
enemies. John Adams wrote in 1809 : 

" If I was the witch of Endor, I would wake the 
ghost of Hutchinson and give him absolute power 
over the currency of the United States and every 
part of it, provided always that he should meddle 
with nothing but the currency. As little as I revere 
his memory, I will acknowledge that he understood 
the subject of coin and commerce better than any 
man I ever knew in this country." 

Judging him at this distance of time, it can 
be plainly seen that Hutchinson was a good 
and able man in many other directions than as 
a financier. His one mistake, in fact, for which 
he was made to atone so bitterly in life and 
death, was disloyalty to the folk-mote, that 
sovereign People so long discrowned, which on 
the soil of New England resumed its rights, 


and fought its hot battle with the usurper, 
Prerogative. He should have chosen his master 
better ; he ought to have known how to choose 
better, sprung as he was from the best New 
England strain, and nurtured from his cradle 
in the atmosphere of freedom. But his choice 
was honest, and no one, who examines the evi- 
dence, can say that in his losing cause he did 
not fight his guns like a man, a sleepless, 
able captain who went down at last with his 
ship. He hoped, no doubt, for advancement for 
himself and his sons, stood in some undue awe, 
natural enough in a colonist, before the king 
and English nobles, and came to feel a personal 
hatred for the men who opposed him, so that he 
could no more do them justice than they could 
do it to him. It has been charged that, for 
the sake of winning favor with the people, he 
wrote letters of a character likely to give them 
pleasure, which he exhibited in public as let- 
ters which he intended to send to persons in 
power ; that, however, they were never sent ; 
that the impression on the minds of the peo- 
ple having been produced, the letters were 
destroyed. The charge has been confidently 
made and may have some grounds. Certainly 
the trick is discreditable ; but it is as incon- 
sistent with his general character as were the 
occasional shortcomings of Samuel Adams with 


his. We may admit the faults of Hutchinson, 
that he was sometimes subservient, that he 
sometimes bore malice, sometimes, probably, 
for a moment under temptation stooped to du- 
plicity. Nevertheless, the obloquy of which he 
has been the victim is for the most part quite 
undeserved, and any lover of fair play will feel 
that it ought to be refuted. He held, to be sure, 
many offices ; it is rather the case, however, that 
they were thrust upon him than that he sought 
them ; they were miserably paid, excepting the 
governorship to which he attained only at a late 
period; they were positions of burden rather 
than honor ; his administration of his trusts in 
every point, excepting as he favored parliamen- 
tary supremacy, was wise and faithful, accord- 
ing to the testimony of all. He has been called 
covetous ; rather he sacrificed his means for 
what he thought the public good, and when, as 
the cause of the king went down, his beautiful 
home and fine fortune underwent confiscation, 
he speaks of the loss in his diary and private 
letters with the dignified equanimity of a high- 
minded philosopher. 

Pleasant traditions of the last royal gov- 
ernor yet linger about Milton Hill, the spot 
which he loved above all others. Old people 
are still there who have heard from their grand- 
parents the story of Hutchinson 's leave-taking, 


on the June day when at length the soldiers had 
come with Gage, and he was about setting out 
for England to give the king the account of his 
stewardship. As he stepped forth from his 
door the beautiful prospect was before him, the 
Neponset winding through the meadows wav- 
ing for the scythe, the villages on the higher 
ground, the broad blue harbor, unfolded from 
the wharves to the Boston Light, with the ships 
on its breast, and the flag above the Castle. 
He looked up, no doubt, into the branches of 
the thrifty buttonwoods he had planted, with a 
good-by glance, then turned his back upon it 
all, with no thought that it was for the last 
time. He went down the road on foot, affably 
greeting his neighbors, Whig and Tory, for the 
genial magnate was on the best terms with all. 
At the foot of the hill, his coach, which the next 
year was taken to Cambridge and appropriated 
to the use of Washington, received him and 
carried him to Dorchester Neck, whence in his 
barge he proceeded to the man-of-war Minerva, 
and so passed away forever. 

All that he possessed was confiscated, even 
the dust of his forefathers, and those still 
nearer ; and here may be mentioned a circum- 
stance in which the grotesque and the melan- 
choly are strangely commingled. In his tomb 
on Copp's Hill lay his father and grandfather, 


and also his wife, whose memory he tenderly 
cherished. He wrote from England a moving 
letter to his son, asking that the coffin might be 
removed to Milton, to a new tomb to be there 
built, near the home to which he expected to 
return, prescribing carefully the steps to be 
taken, that all might be done reverently. But 
the son, leaving with the other Tories at the 
time of the evacuation of Boston, never found 
the opportunity. The tomb with its dead, like 
everything else belonging to the old governor, 
was sold. The canny patriot who bought it 
had a thrift as close as that of the character in 
the "Pirates of Penzance," who appropriates 
in the old burying-ground on his freshly pur- 
chased estate the ancestors of the former pos- 
sessor. " I do riot know whose ancestors they 
may formerly have been, but they are now 
mine," and so he weeps among their graves 
upon proper occasion. The governor's tomb 
had before it a stone bearing the name " Hutch- 
inson," and underneath, the finely-carved es- 
cutcheon of the family. A great-grandson of 
the governor, on a pious pilgrimage to the spot, 
found the old lettering erased. The armorial 
bearings, however, remained distinct and hand- 
some, and over them, as if they were his own, 
the new proprietor had caused his own name to 
be carved. The coat of arms he felt apparently 


to be part of his bargain ; so, too, the buried 
Hutchinsons beneath. The stone is still to be 
seen in its place above the tomb on Copp's Hill, 
and under it no doubfc lies, with his appropriated 
ancestors, the clever Whig, whose name it now 
bears, snugly tucked in, like a hermit-crab in 
his stolen shell, awaiting Gabriel's trump. 

When Hutchinson reached England his re- 
ception was of the best. Lord Dartmouth car- 
ried him to the king without giving him time 
to change his clothes after the journey. A con- 
versation of an hour or two took place, of which 
he has left a careful report, in which both 
king and governor appear to good advantage. 
He was offered a baronetcy, and was as well re- 
ceived as possible by the people in power. His 
diary, just given to the world, offers an unaf- 
fected account of his experiences, from which 
the conclusion is irresistible that he bore him- 
self well in his new surroundings, was felt by 
good men to have played a creditable part, 
and made all whom he met regard him as a 
man of good sense. Not Samuel Adams him- 
self could have moved with a stricter conform- 
ity to Puritan standards in the midst of a 
life often frivolous and corrupt. In fact, the 
two men, much as they hated one another, were 
in some respects alike. In point of adroitness 
they were not ill-matched ; each sought what 


he believed to be his country's good, with sin- 
cere patriotism, in his separate way; there was 
in each the same indefatigability, the same deep 
gravity of character, combined with a genial 
manner. From the fashionable amusements of 
London Hutchinson turned with disgust. Gar- 
rick utterly displeased him; he could see noth- 
ing attractive in the sports which he was taken 
to witness. After John Adams's fashion, he 
notes carefully each Sunday the preacher and 
the sermon. Like the " chief incendiary," his 
ideal community would have been his dear Bos- 
ton straitened into a " Christian Sparta." " I 
assure you," he writes, "I had rather die in a 
little country farm -house in New England, than 
in the best nobleman's seat in Old England, 
and have therefore given no ear to any pro- 
posal of settling here." So frequently in these 
pages we have the utterances of a homesick 
spirit, that would gladly have left the splendors 
and attentions of the court of George III. to re- 
turn to the land he sincerely loved. The ex- 
ile was keenly sensitive to opprobrium, and 
defends himself in his letters and sometimes in 
more formal ways. Speaking of his letter- 
books left behind in his house at Milton, now 
in the Massachusetts archives, and from which 
much has been quoted in this volume, he 
says : 


" When I was threatened by the tea-mobs, I car- 
ried them to Milton, and when I was obliged to re- 
turn to the Castle upon Gen. Gage's arrival, it did 
not come into my mind where I had put them. I am 
sure there is nothing in them but what will evidence 
an upright aim, and an endeavor to keep off the 
miseries which in spite of my endeavors a few men 
have brought upon the country; and if they will take 
the whole of them, they will find a uniform plan for 
preserving the authority of Parliament, and at the 
same time indulging the colonies in every point in 
which the people imagined they were aggrieved." 

To attacks which were made upon him by 
the Whigs in Parliament he replied by a for- 
mal "Vindication," in which he speaks of him- 
self in the third person. The paper was not 
printed then, and appears now for the first time 
in the diary. It is a document full of clear- 
ness and dignity, and has much interest to the 
student of our Revolutionary history. A pas- 
sage from this follows : 

" It is asserted that no one fact has ever appeared 
to have been materially misrepresented by him, nor 
any one proposal made unfriendly to the rights and 
liberties of mankind in general, or tending to take 
from the Province of which he was governor, the 
privileges enjoyed by its charter, or any powers or 
privileges from the inhabitants of the colonies, which 
can be made to consist with their relation to Parlia- 


ment as the supreme authority of the British do- 
minions. . . . 

" It is a remark more ancient than any British col- 
ony that * Gubernatorum vituperatio populo placet/ 
and every governor of Massachusetts Bay, for near 
a century past, has by experience found the truth 
of it." 

With this outburst we dismiss the ruined 
exile from our attention. 



As Hutchinson looked his last upon Boston 
harbor, having his mind cheered by a warm ad- 
dress, expressing for him deep respect, which had 
been sent in to him by a hundred and twenty 
respectable merchants, and by a second similar 
address coming from the lawyers, he must have 
heard the tolling of the bells that announced 
the closing of the port of Boston in retaliation 
for the destruction of the tea. 

The steps which the government had taken 
were decided enough, but the instrument 
through whom they were to be carried into 
execution was a man far different from the as- 
tute, energetic Hutchinson. Gage was mild in 
temper, and of very moderate ability. His 
disposition was to treat Boston good-naturedly, 
and it was only when fortified by others that 
he made up his mind to put the Port Bill in 
force. The Whig leaders, relieved from the op- 
position of their great antagonist, manoeuvred 
and drove forward relentlessly, outwitting or 



overriding the general at every step, until his 
weak amiability gave way to outbreaks of testy 

The General Court which had convened on 
the 26th of May was memorable as the last 
under the colonial charter. The other colo- 
nies, as well as Massachusetts, were now ripe 
for the Congress, and Samuel Adams, who in 
the gathering Revolution had attained in his 
own Province an almost autocratic ascendency, 
prepared to secure the nomination of dele- 
gates. For a few days nothing could be done, 
for Gage prorogued the Court, to meet early 
in June at Salem. The session presently took 
place in that town, and never had the hand of 
the great master been so deft and at the same 
time so daring : one moment pulling strings 
with the nicest caution, the next it was, as it 
were, clenched and delivered in a telling blow. 
But whether in the form of flattering palm or 
doubled fist, it ruled the hour omnipotently, 
and brought to pass a triumphant success. 

Samuel Adams, working with the Commit- 
tee of Correspondence to the last moment, then 
hurrying over the country roads to Salem, was 
late in reaching the place of meeting, giving 
much anxiety to the patriots, who followed him 
now like children, and much joy to the Tories, 
for the report spread that at last the soldiers 


had seized him. While the Assembly waited, 
he entered the hall. The Tories, made bold by 
the presence in town of a general as chief 
magistrate, with soldiers at his back, bore 
themselves with much arrogance. The pres- 
sure of the crowd of spectators in the hall in 
which the Court was to assemble was consider- 
able, and a group of Tories had taken posses- 
sion of the space about the chair appropriated 
to the clerk. When Samuel Adams entered, 
one of their number, in a gold-laced coat and 
otherwise richly dressed, had seated himself in 
the chair, which he seemed disposed to retain. 
" Mr. Speaker, where is the place for your 
clerk ? " said Samuel Adams, with his eyes 
fixed upon the intruder and the group that 
surrounded him. The speaker pointed to the 
chair and desk. " Sir," said Mr. Adams, " my 
company will not be pleasant to the gentlemen 
who occupy it. I trust they will remove to 
another part of the house." The Tories gave 
way before him, and his bearing soon dispelled 
the idea with which some of the Tories had 
flattered themselves, that Samuel Adams had 
been delayed by his fears. 

The House at once after organization pro- 
tested against the removal from Boston. The 
Council presented to the governor a respectful 
address ; but when at last a wish was expressed 


that his administration might be a happy con- 
trast to that of his two immediate predeces- 
sors, Gage angrily interrupted the chairman, 
refused to listen farther, and denounced the 
address as insulting to the king and Privy 
Council, and to himself. Affairs were indeed 
critical. Boston, with many of its Whigs weak- 
kneed and its latent Toryism all brought to 
the surface and made demonstrative by the dis- 
play of power by the ministry, was in danger 
of adopting a measure for giving compensation 
for the tea, and perhaps going still farther in 
the path of concession, to win relief from the 
calamity that had come. A town-meeting was 
called. Samuel Adams could not be in two 
places at once, and to Joseph Warren was left 
the responsibility of bringing things to a good 
issue. Warren, gallant as he was, felt his heart 
sink. He was like a general of division, who, 
having fought long with great effect under the 
eye of an old field-marshal, suddenly in a day 
of the utmost danger finds himself intrusted 
with an independent command. He begged the 
generalissimo to come back. " I think your at- 
tendance can by no means be dispensed with 
over Friday, as I believe we shall have a warm 
engagement." But on that very day it was 
the 17th of June, one year before Bunker Hill 
there was work to be done at Salem too, and 


Warren had to fight it out by himself. With 
John Adams in the chair as moderator, the 
lieutenant on the floor brought all to a victo- 
rious issue. At that time he first realized his 
own great power and became self-reliant. Mean- 
while Samuel Adams, in his field, having bur- 
rowed for days like a skillful engineer, at length 
sprung his mine, and in the most audacious of 
assaults carried the position. 

A larger number of representatives had ap- 
peared than ever before, drawn together by the 
greatness of the crisis, many of whom were dis- 
posed to be reactionary, if not actually Tories. 
A committee of nine on the state of the Prov- 
ince, consisting of the principal members of 
the Assembly, and of which Samuel Adams 
was chairman, had been appointed in May be- 
fore the prorogation. By this committee all 
action must be initiated. If a hint should 
reach Gage that the Assembly were engaged 
in the election of delegates to a Congress, it 
was known that he would at once prorogue 
the Court to prevent such action. Samuel Ad- 
ams studied his problem warily. Sounding 
the members of his committee, he found some 
of them doubtful in the cause. In particular 
Daniel Leonard of Taunton, a man of ability, 
who is now known to have been one of Hutch- 
inson's sharpest writers, was to be dreaded. 


The plan pursued was to entertain in meetings 
of the committee vague propositions for concil- 
iation, until the lukewarm or Tory members 
should form the idea that some compromise 
was likely to be proposed. Meantime Samuel 
Adams secretly made sure of those in the com- 
mittee upon whom he could rely, and gradually 
ascertained precisely what other members of 
the House could be counted upon. All must 
be done with the most velvet-footed caution, 
and days must pass. A sufficient majority 
must be secured and instructed, so that the 
measure might be carried with little debate, 
as soon as proposed, and no hint of it reach 

The days passed. At meetings of the com- 
mittee the old cat purred of conciliation with 
half-closed, sleepy eyes, until the doubtful men 
were completely deceived. Leonard himself, at 
length, went home to Taunton on legal busi- 
ness, feeling that if Sam Adams was ready to 
yield, there was no need of being watchful. 
At once Adams set one of his best lieutenants, 
James Warren of Plymouth, an apt and faith- 
ful pupil, to keep the committee in play, while 
he worked as secretly but more actively out- 
side. At first he was sure of but five ; in 
two days he could count on thirty ; at length 
he had under his hand a majority, and all was 


ready. One feels that if sharp-eyed Hutchin- 
son had been on the spot, there would have 
been trouble. Gage, however, satisfied with 
his show of energy in rebuking the Council, 
and abundantly assured that the temper of the 
Assembly was peaceful, looked amiably on with 
his hands folded. 

The spring at last was like lightning. On Fri- 
day, the 17th of June, one hundred and twenty- 
nine members were present. Sam Adams, at 
the head of the committee on the state of the 
Province, suddenly caused the door to be locked, 
and charged the doorkeeper to let no one in or 
out. The next instant a series of resolves was 
produced providing for the appointment of James 
Bowdoin, Thomas Gushing, Samuel Adams, John 
Adams, and Robert Treat Paine, to meet the 
delegates of other colonial Assemblies, on the 
1st of September, at Philadelphia, or any other 
place that should be decided upon. The House 
was at once in an uproar, and an earnest effort 
was made to choke off the measure. But the 
majority rose in its power ; the lieutenants, 
secretly drilled, were each in place, and the 
arch conspirator, cool and genial, but adroit and 
forceful as any man who ever ruled a senate, 
held every string in his hand. Attempts were 
made by Tory members to leave the hall, when 
it became plain how things must go. The door- 


keeper, beset and browbeaten by heated men, 
grew uneasy under the responsibility which 
was placed upon him ; whereupon Sam Adams, 
with a curious inversion of the great Cromwel- 
lian precedent, but with a spirit as self-reliant 
and straightforward as that of the other great 
Puritan brewer himself, did not turn his Par- 
liament out, but bolted them in. Making sure 
that the door was still fast, he put the key into 
his own pocket. 

Some debate there must be, and while it went 
forward a Tory member, pleading sickness, in 
some way did manage to make his escape, 
and hurried at once to Gage with the news. 
Forthwith the general prepared the shortest 
possible message of prorogation, and his secre- 
tary hurried with it to the hall. The door was 
still locked, with the key in Samuel Adams's 
pocket, and even Thomas Flucker, Esquire, no 
inconsiderable personage himself, and now the 
messenger of the governor and commander-in- 
chief, demanded admission in vain. The fact 
that he was without was imparted to the 
speaker, who communicated it formally to the 
House, but the majority ordered the door to 
be kept fast. By this time rumors of a great 
legislative coup d'etat were flying through the 
town and a crowd began to collect in the ap- 
proaches to the hall. To these, for want of 


a better audience, and also to several mem- 
bers of the House who had come late to the 
session, Flucker read his message. No tac- 
tics, meantime, could long stave off the end at 
which Sam Adams aimed. The Tories suc- 
cumbed, the doubtful went over in a troop to 
the Whig side, the delegates were elected with 
only twelve dissenting voices, and five hun- 
dred pounds were voted to pay their expenses. 
Since no money could be drawn from the pub- 
lic treasury without the governor's consent, 
every town in the Province was assessed in 
proportion to its last tax-list, to provide the 
sum. Resolves were then passed for the re- 
lief of Boston and Charlestown, as the special 
sufferers by the Port Bill, renouncing the use 
of tea and all goods and manufactures com- 
ing from Great Britain, and encouraging home 
productions to the utmost. All that was nec- 
essary having been fully and satisfactorily per- 
formed, Mr. Flucker was admitted, the Assem- 
bly with all grace submitted to the mandate of 
prorogation, and the members scattered. The 
horse was stolen, and General Gage locked the 
barn-door with great vigor. 

Samuel Adams dispatched the news by 
printed circular to the selectmen of the towns, 
with the apportionment made in each case for 
the fund to defray the expenses of the dele- 


gates, and himself received the sums that were 
sent. Notice was sent, too, by Gushing, as 
speaker, to all the colonies, informing them of 
the action of Massachusetts. This it was which 
had been generally awaited, and now, following 
in her wake, the thirteen colonies, from New 
Hampshire to Georgia, prepared for the great 
Congress at Philadelphia on September 1. 

The interval between the prorogation of the 
legislature and the departure of the delegates 
to Philadelphia was by no means an idle one 
for the patriots. As chairman of the commit- 
tees for devising plans for the relief of the poor 
and distributing the donations which began to 
arrive from all quarters, Samuel Adams was 
kept busy. On the 27th of June occurred a 
town-meeting, memorable as being the last oc- 
casion upon which the Tories made an effort to 
stem in that community the course of the Revo- 
lution ; after this they threw themselves back 
upon the military power. Taking advantage 
of the public distress, which became every day 
greater, a meeting WHS called by them at Fan- 
euil Hall. In the enforced idleness of all 
classes, a multitude attended, and, as usual, the 
meeting adjourned to the Old South. A few 
weeks previous, a " solemn league and cove- 
nant " against using British productions of 
every kind had been drawn up by Warren, 


and had received many signatures. This doc- 
ument having been read, a Tory denounced 
it, and presently after a vote of censure was 
moved upon the Committee of Correspond- 
ence, providing also for its annihilation. Sam- 
uel Adams, the moderator, quickly left the 
chair to Cushing, taking his place on the floor 
as champion of the Committee of which he had 
been the creator and the ruling spirit. The 
debate was long and vehement, lasting until 
dark of the long June day, and was resumed 
the following forenoon. It was conducted in 
the presence of an audience of ruined men ; 
merchants whose idle ships had nothing be- 
fore them but to rot at the wharves, mechanics 
whose labor had suddenly become a drug in the 
market, sailors to whom the sea was barred. 
A slight yielding from the course into which 
the Whigs had struck would remove at once the 
incubus. It was not at all necessary to become 
Tories ; certain small concessions, like the pay- 
ment for the tea and an admission that its de- 
struction had been a mistake, would be enough. 
Even Josiah Quincy had advised moderation 
at the time, and now great patriots like Frank- 
lin declared this to be a proper step. 

To Samuel Adams, who saw no safety in 
such a course, the time was indeed critical. 
But when the question was put as to the anni- 


hilation of the committee, the meeting " by a 
great majority " 1 voted in the negative, and 
then almost unanimously the resolve passed : 
44 That the town bear open testimony that they 
are abundantly satisfied of the upright inten- 
tions and much approve of the honest zeal of 
the Committee of Correspondence, and desire 
that they will persevere with their usual ac- 
tivity and firmness, continuing steadfast in the 
way of well-doing." This was an indorsement 
of an unyielding course. The Tories, so utterly 
defeated in town-meeting, signed a protest, 
which was widely distributed, against the " sol- 
emn league and covenant ; " but their sleepless 
and implacable opponent stormed at them as 
" Candidus " from the columns of the u Boston 
Gazette." The " solemn league and covenant " 
spread throughout the Massachusetts towns, 
through all New England, and into the colonies 
in general, becoming a most formidable non- 
importation agreement, which the royal gov- 
ernors denounced in vain. 

The patriots now lived in daily fear of the 
arrest of Samuel Adams and his prominent sup- 
porters. Urgent letters are extant, entreating 
him to be on his guard ; steps were taken to 
make his house more secure. But Gage de- 

1 These words in the town records are underscored by Wil- 
liam Cooper, showing his strong feeling. 


layed ; the matter was left largely to his discre- 
tion, and he was quite justified in thinking it 
would be imprudent. A public seizure would 
have been the height of rashness, and a private 
arrest would have brought upon the British 
force, still far from large, though it was gradu- 
ally increasing, such an avalanche of patriots as 
would infallibly have crushed it. It came very 
near being the case that positive orders were 
sent to Gage for the seizure. Says Hutchin- 
son : " The lords of the privy council bad their 
pens in their hands in order to sign the war- 
rant to apprehend Adams, Molineux, and 
other principal incendiaries, try them, and if 
found guilty, put them to death." Lord Mans- 
field told Hutchinson that the warrant was not 
sent, "because the attorney and solicitor gen- 
eral were in doubt whether the evidence was 
sufficient to convict them ; but he said things 
would never be right until some of them were 
brought over." 

More insidious assaults were made, however, 
without success. Hutchinson in his day had 
known Adams too well to try such means. 
" Why hath not Mr. Adams been taken off 
from his opposition by an office ? " inquired 
members of the ministry. u Such is the obsti- 
nacy and inflexible disposition of the man," was 
the reply, " that he never would be conciliated 


by any office of gift whatever." Gage was less 
wise, and made a trial which had an ignomin- 
ious failure. In 1818 Mr. Adams's daughter re- 
lated : The governor sent, by Colonel Fenton, 
who commanded one of the newly arrived regi- 
ments, a confidential and verbal message, prom- 
ising Adams great gifts and advancement if he 
would recede, and saying it was the advice of 
Governor Gage to him not to incur the further 
displeasure of his majesty. Adams listened with 
apparent interest to this recital, until the mes- 
senger had concluded. Then rising, he replied, 
glowing with indignation : u Sir, I trust I have 
long since made my peace with the King of 
kings No personal consideration shall induce 
me to abandon the righteous cause of my coun- 
try. Tell Governor Gage it is the advice of 
Samuel Adams to him no longer to insult the 
feelings of an exasperated people." There is 
some reason also for supposing that he was 
offered afterward a pension of two thousand 
guineas, and a patent of nobility in the Ameri- 
can peerage which was projected. 

Early in August Gage received official news 
of the act of Parliament changing the charter, 
which had been for some time unofficially 
known, and instructions to put it at once in 
force. Thirty-six councilors were nominated 
by the crown, according to the new method, 


called tlie " mandamus " councilors ; of these 
twenty-four accepted. They at once met, and 
other arbitrary measures were taken. The 
Committee of Correspondence retaliated by 
recommending that all men should practice 
military drill, and that a Provincial Congress 
should be summoned. Preliminary to this the 
counties met in convention, one hundred and 
fifty delegates from the towns of Middlesex as- 
sembling at Concord, and the towns of Essex 
convening at Ipswich. Gage, meantime, took 
cannon from Cambridge, and in defiance of the 
protests of the selectmen began to fortify Bos- 
ton Neck. 

During the summer of 1774, Samuel Ad- 
ams, while preparing for his departure to 
Philadelphia, cpntinued to direct affairs in 
straitened Boston. The committees of which 
he was the chairman made gifts and afforded 
employment to the poor in the repairing of 
streets and building of wharves on the town's 
land. His correspondence continues. To R. 
H. Lee he writes : k4 It is the virtue of the yeo- 
manry we are chiefly to depend upon." The 
sentence lets us know the kind of democracy 
in which Adams believed. His disposition 
was to put the fullest reliance upon the peo- 
ple, yet sometimes he is careful to specify that 
it is the " yeomanry " or " the lulk of the peo- 


pie*' who are to be built upon. As he dis- 
trusted the fine world which was ready to cringe 
before power, he recognized too the possibility 
of danger at the other end of the scale, from 
the "mob." In March of the present year 
there had been a riot at Marblehead, the peo- 
ple burning lawlessly a small-pox hospital. 
Through Elbridge Gerry the facts came to 
Samuel Adams, and the Assembly were peti- 
tioned for armed assistance. It would have 
been mortifying to the patriots and a triumph 
to the Tories if the Assembly had been brought 
to use arms against the people. The House de- 
layed, probably through Adams's influence, and 
the matter meanwhile fortunately quieted it- 
self. At a later time, however, in the Shays 
rebellion, we shall find the man of the town- 
meeting standing as sternly against the mis- 
guided people as he ever did against Tory or 
crown official. " Vox populi vox Dei " was a 
sentiment to which he fully subscribed, but it 
must be the voice of the substantial people. 

Donations came from near and far to the sup- 
port of suffering Boston. Salem and the ports 
adjacent commonly received what was sent ; 
and thence the carriage was made by land to the 
centre. As the time drew near for the departure 
to Philadelphia, Samuel Adams gave his parting 
charge to the Committee of Correspondence, a 


charge which they spoke of as " instructions," 
from which they must on no account deviate, so 
authoritative had his word become. The very 
last business performed was to arrange for a 
convention of deputies from Boston and the ad- 
joining towns at some inland point, out of the 
way of interruptions. This, it was felt, might 
pave the way for a general congress of the 
Province, which was likely before long to be 
wanted. The execution of this project, and 
the general direction of affairs, was to lie with 
Joseph Warren, who, since the " Port Bill meet- 
ing " of June 17, had fully found his powers, 
and during the short remnant of his life was 
to show himself a man of great executive force. 

And now let us pause for a moment, as Sam- 
uel Adams is on the point of leaving Massachu- 
setts for the first time, to look at his home life. 

He still occupied the house in Purchase 
Street, the estate connected with which had, as 
time went forward, through the carelessness of 
its preoccupied owner become narrowed to a 
scanty tract. It was nevertheless a sightly 
place, from which stretched seaward before 
the eye the island-studded harbor, with the 
many ships, the bastions of the Castle, low ly- 
ing to the right, and landward the town, ris- 
ing fair upon its hills. Samuel Adams, shortly 


before this time, bad been able, probably with 
the help of friends, to put his home in good 
order, and managed to be hospitable. For 
apparently life went forward in his home, if 
frugally, not parsimoniously, his admirable wife 
making it possible for him, from his small in- 
come as clerk of the House, to maintain a de- 
cent housekeeping. His son, now twenty-two 
years old, was studying medicine with Dr. 
Warren, after a course at Harvard, a young 
man for whom much could be hoped. His 
daughter was a promising girl of seventeen. 
With the young people and their intimates the 
father was cordial and genial. He had an ear 
for music and a pleasant voice in singing, a 
practice which he much enjoyed. The house 
was strictly religious ; grace was said at each 
meal, and the Bible is still preserved from 
which some member of the household read 
aloud each night. Old Surry, a slave woman 
given to Mrs. Adams in 1765, and who was 
freed upon coming into her possession, lived in 
the family nearly fifty years, showing devoted 
attachment. When slavery was abolished in 
Massachusetts, papers of manumission were 
made out for her in due form ; but these she 
threw into the fire in anger, saying she had 
lived too long to be trifled with. The servant 
boy whom Samuel Adams carefully and kindly 


reared, became afterwards a mechanic of char- 
acter, and worked efficiently in his former mas- 
ter's behalf when at length in old age Adams 
was proposed for governor. Nor must Queue 
be forgotten, the big, intelligent Newfoundland 
dog, who appreciated perfectly what was due 
to his position as the dog of Sam Adams. He 
had a vast antipathy to the British uniform. 
He was cut and shot in several places by sol- 
diers, in retaliation for his own sharp attacks ; 
for the patriotic Queue anticipated even the 
" embattled farmers " of Concord bridge in in- 
augurating hostilities, and bore to his grave 
honorable sears from his fierce encounters. The 
upholders of the house of Hanover had received 
iio heartier bites than those of Queue since the 
days of the Jacobites. 

Until now, in his fifty-third year, Samuel 
Adams had never left his native town except 
for places a few miles distant. The expenses 
of the journey and the sojourn in Philadelphia 
were arranged for by the legislative appropri- 
ation. But the critical society of a populous 
town, and the picked men of the thirteen colo- 
nies were to be encountered. A certain sump- 
tuousness in living and apparel would be not 
only fitting, but necessary in the deputies, that 
the great Province which they represented 


might suffer no dishonor. Samuel Adams him- 
self probably would have been quite satisfied 
to appear in the old red coat of 1770, in which 
Copley had painted him, and which no 'doubt 
his wife's careful darning still held together; 
but his townsmen arranged it differently. The 
story will be best told in the words of a writer 
of the time : 

" The ultimate wish and desire of the high govern- 
ment party is to get Samuel Adams out of the way, 
when they think they may accomplish every of their 
plans ; but, however some may despise him, he has 
certainly very many friends. For, not long since, 
some persons (their names unknown) sent and asked 
his permission to build him a new barn, the old one 
being decayed, which was executed in a few days. A 
second sent to ask leave to repair his house, which 
was thoroughly effected soon. A third sent to beg the 
favor of him to call at a tailor's shop, and be meas- 
ured for a suit of clothes, and choose his cloth, which 
were finished and sent home for his acceptance. A 
fourth presented him with a new wig, a fifth with a 
new hat, a sixth with six pair of the best silk hose, a 
seventh with six pair of fine thread ditto, an eighth 
with six pair of shoes, and a ninth modestly inquired 
of him whether his finances were not rather low than 
otherwise. He replied it was true that was the case, 
but he was very indifferent about these matters, so 
that his poor abilities were of any service to the 
public ; upon which the gentleman obliged him to 


accept of a purse containing about fifteen or twenty 
Johannes." l 

On the 10th of August the four delegates set 
forth : Thomas Gushing, Samuel and John Ad- 
ams, and Robert Treat Paine. Bowdoin was 
unfortunately kept at home by the sickness 
of his wife. They left the house of Gushing 
in considerable state. "Am told," says John 
Andrews, " they made a very respectable parade 
in sight of five of the regiments encamped on 
the Common, being in a coach and four, pre- 
ceded by two white servants well mounted and 
armed, with four blacks behind in livery, two 
on horseback and two footmen." At Water- 
town they dined with a large number of their 
friends, who drove out thither for the final 
parting. Hence they proceeded in a coach ar- 
ranged for their special convenience. The jour- 
ney, with the great attentions they received, is 
graphically related in the diary of John Adams, 
who was, as the reader of these pages by this 
time well knows, a most admirable observer 
and reporter, in part for the same reason Lowell 
gives for Margaret Fuller's sharpness : 

" A person must surely see well, if he try, 
The whole of whose being J s a capital I." 

1 John Andrews to William Barrell, Boston, August 11, 
1774. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 1865. The new suit was given 
just before the departure for Philadelphia. 


In Connecticut they were received with great 
circumstance. Cavalcades accompanied them 
from town to town. 

" At four we made New Haven. Seven miles 
out of town, at a tavern, we met a great number of 
carriages and horsemen who had come out to meet 
us. The sheriff of the county, and constable of the 
town, and the justices of the peace were in the train. 
As we were coming, we met others to the amount 
of I know not what number. As we came into the 
town, all the bells in town were set to ringing, and 
the people, men, women, and children, were crowding 
at the doors and windows as if it was to see a coro- 
nation. At nine o'clock the cannon were fired, about 
a dozen guns, I think." 

Bears, the landlord of the tavern, afterwards 
tells them : " the parade which was made to 
introduce us into town was a sudden proposal 
in order to divert the populace from erecting 
a liberty-pole," engineered by the Tories. 

Rarely enough in his life did Sam Adams 
tajke a holiday, and now one thinks that, with so 
much that was tremendous impending, a man 
could hardly be in a mood for the enjoyment of 
new scenes and people, and the reception of 
honors, however flattering. He had long lived, 
however, with his head in the lion's mouth, and 
though the beast roared as never before, he had 
good reason to feel that in the general rising 
of America, of which he everywhere found to- 


kens, the bite might at last be risked. As they 
passed onward in the pleasant summer weather, 
there was no doubt much to enjoy ; but whether 
his experiences were agreeable or otherwise, of 
matters purely personal he makes no more men- 
tion now than at other times. The two kins- 
men, so long already companions, and now in 
closer relations than ever, good friends though 
they were, were in some points strangely unlike. 
Honest John parades himself artlessly in every 
page he writes, now in self-chastening, now in 
comfortable self-complacency. Reticent Sam, 
on the other hand, though he lived with the pen 
in his hand, and wrote reams every year which 
went into print, is as silent as to himself as if 
he had been dumb. Whether he was elated or 
discouraged, happy or wretched, his mood rarely 
leaves on his page any trace of itself. 

The biographer of Samuel Adams, therefore, 
is thankful enough for the help rendered him 
by the unreserved Hutchinson and the naive 
chat of the Braintree statesman. So in the 
agreeable record of the latter we follow the 
deputies onward. Each Sunday we know the 
country parson whose preaching they experi- 
ence, his text, his subject, perhaps the heads of 
his discourse. At each stage we know not so 
well the name of the town as that of the cheer- 
ful landlord with whom they lodge. Starting 
from Coolidge's in Watertown, we have seen 


them bring up at Isaac Bears's, in New Haven, 
the curt host who dampens any self-com- 
placency they may incline to feel by declaring 
the demonstration in their honor to be nothing 
but a Tory device to head off the raising of a 
liberty-pole. Thence on to Curtiss's, to Qnin- 
tard's, to Fitch's, Haviland's, Cock's, and 
Day's, until at length they drive up before 
Hull's, " The Bunch of Grapes," in New York. 
Here they rest for several days, seeing the town 
under the guidance of McDougall, afterwards 
major-general, and meeting John Morin Scott, 
John Jay, Duane, and members of the great 
Livingston family, as they had met in Con- 
necticut Silas Deane and Roger Sherman. 

On the 27th they reached Princeton, where, 
attending the college prayers, they find the 
Scotch president, Dr. Witherspoon, " as high a 
son of liberty as any man in America." They 
cross the Delaware at Trenton, a pleasant sum- 
mer transit. The men of Glover's amphibious 
regiment who are to struggle with ice cakes 
here in a year or two are still quietly fishing off 
Marblehead, and the Hessians of Colonel Rahl 
are still free and happy farmers in the pretty 
villages about Marburg and Cassel. In Phila- 
delphia presently after, " dirty and fatigued," 
they take lodgings, the four Massachusetts del- 
egates together, " with Miss Jane Port in Arch 



ON September 5, the delegates, fifty-three in 
number, met at the city tavern, then viewed 
the famous hall built for the Society of House 
Carpenters, and concluded it was sufficient for 
their purpose. Peyton Randolph of Virginia 
was made chairman, and Charles Thomson 
secretary. The Massachusetts delegates had 
adopted- the policy of keeping in the back- 
ground, influenced greatly, no doubt, by an in- 
cident that happened as they were on the point 
of entering Philadelphia, and which John Ad- 
ams thus detailed in his old age : 

" We were met at Frankfort by Dr. Rush, Mr. 
Mifflin, Mr. Bayard, and several other of the most 
active sons of liberty in Philadelphia, who desired a 
conference with us. We invited them to take tea 
with us in a private apartment. They asked leave 
to give us some information and advice, which we 
thankfully granted. They represented to us that the 
friends of government in Boston and in the Eastern 
states had represented us to the Middle and South 



as four desperate adventurers. " Mr. Gushing was a 
harmless kind of man, but poor, and wholly depend- 
ent upon his popularity for his subsistence. Mr. 
Samuel Adams was a very artful, designing man, but 
desperately poor, and wholly dependent on his pop- 
ularity with the lowest vulgar for his living. John 
Adams and Mr. Paine were two young lawyers, of 
no great talents, reputation, or weight, who had no 
other means of raising themselves into consequence 
than by courting popularity.' We were all suspected 
of wishing independence. Now, said they, you must 
not utter the word independence, nor give the least 
hint or insinuation of the idea, either in Congress, or 
any private conversation ; if you do, you are undone ; 
for independence is as unpopular in all the Middle 
and South as the Stamp Act itself. No man dares 
to speak of it. ... You are thought to be too warm. 
You must not come forward with any bold measure ; 
you must not pretend to take the lead. You know 
Virginia is the most popular state in the Union 
very proud they think they have a right to lead. 
The South and Middle are too much disposed to yield 
it. ... This was plain dealing, but it made a deep 
impression. That conversation has given a coloring 
to the whole policy of the United States from that day 
to this (1822)." 

As the presidency of Congress was given to 
Virginia, so the first memorable event of the 
session was an impassioned speech by Patrick 
Henry, reciting the colonial wrongs, the ne- 


cessity of union, and of the preservation of the 
democratic part of the constitution. Applause 
was general, and a debate followed, in which for 
the most part only the Southern members ap- 
peared, though John Jay took part. Samuel 
Adams was without doubt the most conspicu- 
ous and also the most dreaded member of the 
body. All knew that he had been especially 
singled out as the mark of royal vengeance ; 
with the leading men he had long been in cor- 
respondence ; his leadership in the most popu- 
lous colony, which had so far borne the brunt 
of the struggle, was a familiar fact, as was also 
his authorship of the documents and measures 
which had done most to bring about a crisis. 
His views were generally felt to be quite too 

His first move was one of the most long- 
headed proceedings of his whole career, a 
wily master-stroke even for him. In the dif- 
ferences of religious belief, so many of the 
members holding to their views with ardent in- 
tolerance, it was felt by many to be quite inex- 
pedient to open the Congress formally, after 
the preliminaries were arranged, with prayer. 
Samuel Adams, however, sternest of the Puri- 
tans, and well known to hate everything that 
had to do with prelacy ten times more because 
a large proportion of the Episcopalians in the 


colonies held the popular cause in contempt, 
electrified friend and foe by moving that the 
Rev. Mr. Duche, an Episcopal clergyman, 
should be asked to open their deliberations 
with a religious service. Few acts in his ca- 
reer, probably, cost him a greater sacrifice, and 
few acts were really more effective. A rumor 
came at the moment that Boston had been 
bombarded. In the excitement that prevailed 
Mr. Duche performed the service impressively, 
although his conduct afterward proved him to 
be a wretched character. 1 " Joseph Read, the 
leading lawyer of Philadelphia," says John 
Adams, "returned with us to our lodgings. 
He says we never were guilty of a more mas- 
terly stroke of policy than in moving that Mr. 
Duche might read prayers. It has had a very 
good effect." If Prynne in the Long Parlia- 
ment had asked for the prayers of Laud, the 
sensation could not have been greater. Before 
such a stretch of catholicity, the members be- 
came ashamed of their divisions, and a spirit of 
harmony, quite new and beyond measure sal- 
utary, came to prevail. 

Immediately afterward a committee was 
formed, the description of whose duties recalls 
the language used by the Boston town-meeting 
in 1772, when the Committee of Correspond- 

1 Graydon's Memoirs, p. 98, note. 


ence was formed. The committee was " to 
state the rights of the colonies in general, the 
several instances in which those rights are vio- 
lated and infringed, and the means most proper 
to be pursued for obtaining a restoration of 
them." The committee was to consist of two 
delegates from each province, Samuel and John 
Adams acting for Massachusetts. Another 
committee was also appointed to examine and 
report the several statutes which affected trade 
and manufactures. 

Meantime the plans concerted between Sam- 
uel Adams on the one hand, and Warren with 
the home-keeping patriots on the other, were 
carried to fulfillment. Warren engineered the 
famous " Suffolk Resolves," that " no obedience 
was due to either or any part of the recent acts 
of Parliament, which are rejected as the at- 
tempts of a wicked administration to enslave 
America." The determination was expressed to 
remain on the defensive so long as such conduct 
might be vindicated by the principles of reason 
and self-preservation, but no longer, and to 
seize as hostages the servants of the crown as 
an offset to the apprehension of any persons in 
Suffolk County who had rendered themselves 
conspicuous in the defense of violated liberty. 
A Provincial Congress was recommended, and 
all tax-collectors were exhorted to retain moneys 


in their hands until government should be con- 
stitutionally organized. So far there had been 
no utterance quite so bold as this, and Warren 
at once committed his resolves to the faithful 
saddlebags of prompt Paul Revere, who con- 
veyed them in six days to the banks of the 
Schuylkill. The hosts now faced each other 
with weapons drawn, and any day might see 
an encounter. 

Samuel Adams was believed by the moderate 
men and the Tories to manage things both in 
and out of Congress. 

'* While the two parties in Congress remained thus 
during three weeks on an equal balance, the republi- 
cans were calling to their assistance the aid of their 
factions without. Continued expresses were employed 
between Philadelphia and Boston. These were under 
the management of Samuel Adams, a man who, 
though by no means remarkable for brilliant abilities, 
yet is equal to most men in popular intrigue and the 
management of a faction. He eats little, drinks little, 
sleeps little, thinks much, and is most decisive and in- 
defatigable in the pursuit of his objects. It was this 
man, who, by his superior application, managed at 
once the faction in Congress at Philadelphia and the 
factions in New England. Whatever these patriots 
in Congress wished to have done by their colleagues 
without, to induce General Gage, then at the head of 
his majesty's army at Boston, to give them a pretext 
for violent opposition, or to promote their measures 


in Congress, Mr. Adams advised and directed to be 
done ; and when done, it was dispatched by express 
to Congress. By one of these expresses came the 
inflammatory resolves of the county of Suffolk, which 
contained a complete declaration of war against Great 
Britain." l 

Galloway, the writer quoted, an able lawyer, 
who had just before been Speaker of the Penn- 
sylvania Assembly, was a leader in Congress of 
the strong party who desired conciliation. The 
plan proposed by him, and which came within 
one vote of being accepted, was a union of the 
colonies under a general Council, which, in con- 
junction with the British Parliament, was to 
care for America. Galloway confesses to have 
been fairly frightened out of his purpose by 
what he supposed to be the power of Samuel 

The Declaration of Rights, embodying a non- 
consumption and non-importation of British 
goods ; the addresses to tlie king, to the peo- 
ple of England, of Canada, and of the British 
American colonies, and a letter to the agent of 
the colonies in England, comprise the published 
papers of the first Congress, seven weeks pass- 
ing while they were in preparation. Of these 

1 Historical and Political Reflections on the Rise and Progress 
of the American Revolution, by Joseph Galloway. London, 
1780. Page 67. 


the first and most important is substantially 
the same as that adopted by the people of 
Boston in 1772. What part precisely Samuel 
Adams took, we cannot tell. He himself says 
nothing, and there was no formal report. John 
Adams's pictures are as vivid as possible, but 
the value of his evidence is impaired by his ev- 
ident prejudice and sense of self-importance. 
Bits of testimony, such as that just quoted from 
'Galloway, throw some further light. Gordon 
states : 

" In some stage of their proceedings the danger 
of a rupture with Britain was urged as a plea for 
certain concessions. Upon this Mr. S. Adams rose 
up, and, among other things, said in substance : ' I 
should advise persisting in our struggle for liberty, 
though it was revealed from heaven that nine hun- 
dred and ninety-nine were to perish, and only one of 
a thousand to survive and retain his liberty. One 
such freeman must possess more virtue and enjoy 
more happiness than a thousand slaves ; and let him 
propagate his like, and transmit to them what he hath 
so nobly preserved.' ' 

All his tact and all his force were brought 
into the fullest play, and we can be certain that 
his influence was great. He writes to Warren, 
September 25, indicating that the disposition to 
regard Massachusetts as over-rash is somewhat 
overcome, but that great caution must be used 


on account of a pervading fear that independ- 
ence is aimed at, and a subsequent subjugation 
of America by the power of New England. If 
the first Congress was not won to thoughts 
of independence, it was kept, at any rate, 
from measures disastrously reactionary. When 
Congress adjourned, October 26, appointing a 
second convention for May 20, 1775, Samuel 
Adams had reason to feel that the course of 
things had been not unsatisfactory. 

The two Adamses and Gushing were received, 
upon their arrival in Boston, November 9, with 
public demonstrations. Letters are extant from 
the patriots who had remained behind in Bos- 
ton, addressed to Samuel Adams, while at Phil- 
adelphia, full of regard and a reverence almost 
filial, showing in every line how his wisdom 
was deferred to. The uneducated people, in- 
deed, are said to have become superstitious with 
regard to him, believing that he had a pro- 
phetic power, and had in his keeping war and 
peace. As usual, there was no respite for him. 
Gordon is authority for the statement that the 
presence of Samuel Adams in the Provincial 
Congress, which had come into being, caused 
it to push preparations for war, and that, since 
many members were timid, and excused them- 
selves from attendance under plea of sickness, 
at his instance measures were taken to keep 


them at their work. He was like a stout ser- 
geant, who makes it his duty not only to face 
the foe, but sometimes to pass along the rear 
of the line of battle, with an admonitory prick 
of the bayonet for the timid ones who may be 
disposed to run before the enemy's fire. As a 
body, however, the Provincial Congress was 
brave and united, and included the best men 
in Massachusetts. 

To the second Continental Congress the in- 
terval is short, but the factotum crowds it with 
work. He leads the Provincial Congress in 
measures for making the people aware of the 
imminence of their danger ; he is at the head 
of the town's committee to distribute donations 
from abroad ; he reaches out on the one hand 
to Canada, on the other to the Mohawk and 
Stockbridge Indians, in efforts to induce them 
to march to the patriotic music ; but his most 
remarkable manifestation is in connection with 
the fifth celebration of the Boston Massacre, on 
the 6th of March, the 5th being Sunday. The 
truth was, that since the change in the charter 
in the preceding year no town-meeting could 
be legally held save such as the governor ex- 
pressly called. The well-trained " Bostoneers," 
however, had a ruse ready, over which the dazed 
Gage stroked his chin, without being able to 
make up his mind to interfere. The clause 


of the Government Act was clear as to the 
prohibition of town-meetings. The preceding 
August, Gage, disposed as usual to be good- 
natured, had summoned the selectmen to the 
Province House. "If a meeting were wanted 
he would allow one to be called, if he should 
judge it expedient." The fathers of the town 
told him they had no occasion for calling a 
meeting; they had one alive. Gage looked 
serious : " I must think of that ; by thus doing 
you can keep the meeting alive for ten years." 
Foreseeing the storm, indeed, the May meeting 
of 1774 had not "dissolved," but " adjourned." 
So, too, had the Port Bill meeting of June 17. 
During the remainder of the year, therefore, 
and into the year following, as one turns over 
the pages of the town records, the " adjourned " 
May meeting, or the " adjourned " Port Bill 
meeting, are reported, which serve perfectly 
every purpose, the town comfortably riding out 
the storm by the parliamentary technicality. 
The meeting of the 6th of March was an ad- 
journment of the Port Bill meeting. Warren, 
knowing that the orator would be in danger, 
with characteristic bravery solicited the post for 

Generally it is as the manager, somewhat 
withdrawn behind the figures in the fore- 
ground, that Samuel Adams makes himself 


felt. In 1770, at the driving out of the regi- 
ments, he is not chairman of the town's commit- 
tee that waits upon Hutchinson, but stands be- 
hind Hancock, only coming forward at the 
moment of danger. At the destruction of the 
tea, he is not in the company, but his sentence 
from the chair was evidently the concerted 
signal for which all were waiting. Again, at 
the last great town-meeting before Lexington 
and Concord, March 6, 1775, the fifth cele- 
bration of the Boston Massacre, while Warren 
is the heroic central figure, Samuel Adams is 
behind all as chief director. On that day Gage 
had in the town eleven regiments. Of trained 
soldiers there were scarcely fewer than the 
number of men on the patriot side ; and when 
we remember that many Tories throughout the 
Province, in the disturbed times, had sought 
refuge in Boston, under the protection of the 
troops, we can feel what a host there was that 
day on the side of the king. Nevertheless, all 
went forward as usual. The warrant appeared 
in due form for the meeting, at which an ora- 
tion was to be delivered to commemorate the 
"horrid Massacre," and to denounce the "ruin- 
ous tendency of standing armies being placed 
in free and populous cities in time of peace." 
The Old South was densely thronged, and in 
the pulpit as moderator once more, by the side 


of the town clerk, William Cooper, quietly sat 
Samuel Adams. Among the citizens a large 
party of officers were present, apparently in- 
tent upon making a disturbance with the de- 
sign of precipitating a conflict. The war, it 
was thought, might as well begin then as at 
any time. Warren was late in appearing ; 
Samuel Adams sat meantime as if upon a 
powder-barrel that might at any minute roar 
into the air in a sudden explosion. The tradi- 
tion has come down that he was serene and un- 
moved. He quietly requested the townsmen to 
vacate the front seats, into which, in order that 
they might be well placed to hear, he politely 
invited the soldiers, whose numbers were so 
large that they overflowed the pews and sat 
upon the pulpit stairs. Warren came at last, 
entering through the window behind the pulpit 
to avoid the press. Wells gives, from a con- 
temporary, the following report : 

" The Selectmen, with Adams, Church, and Han- 
cock, Cooper, and others, assembled in the pulpit, 
which was covered with black, and we all sat gaping 
at one another above an hour, expecting! At last a 
single horse chair.stopped at the apothecary's, opposite 
the meeting, from which descended the orator (War- 
ren) of the day ; and entering the shop, was followed 
by a servant with a bundle, in which were the Cicero- 
nian toga, etc. 


"Having robed himself, he proceeded across the 
street to the meeting, and being received into the 
pulpit, he was announced by one of his fraternity to 
be the person appointed to declaim on the occasion. 
He then put himself into a Demosthenian posture, 
with a white handkerchief in his right hand, and his 
left in his breeches, began and ended without ac- 
tion. He was applauded by the mob, but groaned at 
by people of understanding. One of the pulpiteers 
(Adams) then got up and proposed the nomination of 
another to speak next year on the bloody Massacre, 
the first time that expression was made to the au- 
dience, when some officers cried, 4 O fie, fie ! ' The 
gallerians, apprehending fire, bounded out of the win- 
dows, and swarmed down the gutters, like rats, into 
the street. The Forty-third Regiment returning ac- 
cidentally from exercise, with drums beating, threw 
the whole body into the greatest consternation. There 
were neither pageantry, exhibitions, processions, or 
bells tolling as usual, but the night was remarked for 
being the quietest these many months past." 

A picturesque incident in the delivery of the 
oration was that, as Warren proceeded, a Brit- 
ish captain, sitting on the pulpit stairs, held up 
in his open palm before Warren's face a num- 
ber of pistol bullets. Warren quietly dropped 
his handkerchief upon them and went on. It 
was strange enough that that oration was given 
without an outbreak. 

" We wildly stare about," he says, " and with amaze- 


ment ask, i Who spread this ruin around us ?' What 
wretch lias dared deface the image of his God? Has 
haughty France or cruel Spain sent forth her myrmi- 
dons ? Has the grim savage rushed again from, the 
far distant wilderness ? Or does some fiend, fierce 
from the depth of Hell, with all the rancorous malice 
which the apostate damned can feel, twang her de- 
structive bow and hurl her deadly arrows at our 
breast ? No, none of these ; but how astonishing ! 
It is the hand of Britain that inflicts the wouud. 
The arms of George, our rightful king, have been 
employed to shed that blood which freely should 
have flowed at his command, when justice, or the honor 
of his crown, had called his subjects to the field." 1 

The oration was given without disturbance, 
though the tension was tremendous. In the 
proceedings that followed the quiet was not 
perfect, but the collision was averted for a time. 
The troops were not quite ready, and on the 
patriot side the presiding genius was as prudent 
as he was bold. 2 Shortly afterward Samuel 

1 Frothingham's Warren, p. 433. 

2 Hutchinson gives an interesting fact respecting this mem- 
orable town-meeting, in his Diary. " September 6, 1775. Col. 
James tells an odd story of the intention of the officers the 
5 March ; that 300 were in the meeting to hear Dr. Warren's 
oration : that if he had said anything against the King, &c., 
an officer was prepared, who stood near, with an egg to have 
thrown in his face, and that was to have been a signal to draw 
swords, and they would have massacred Hancock, Adams, and 
hundreds more ; and he added he wished thcv had. I am ulad 


Adams sent the following quiet account to 
Richard Henry Lee in Virginia, which is taken 
here from the autograph : 

BOSTON, March, 1775. 

On the sixth Instant, there was an Adjournment of 
our Town-meeting, when an Oration was delivered in 
Commemoration of the Massacre on the 5th of March, 
1770. I had long expected they would take that oc- 
casion to beat up a Breeze, and therefore (having the 
Honor of being the Moderator of the Meeting, and 
seeing Many of the Officers present before the orator 
came in) 1 took care to have them treated with Ci- 
vility, inviting them into convenient Seats, &c., that 
they might have no pretence to behave ill, for it is a 
good maxim in Politicks as well as War, to put and 
keep the enemy in the wrong. They behaved tol- 
erably well till the oration was finished, when upon a 
motion made for the appointment of another orator, 
they began to hiss, which irritated the assembly to 
the greatest Degree, and Confusion ensued. They, 
however, did not gain their End, which was appar- 

they did not : for I think it would have been an everlasting 
disgrace to attack a body of people without arms to defend 

" He says one officer cried ' Fy.! Fy ! ' nnd Adams immedi- 
ately asked who dared say so ? And then said to the officer 
he should mark him. The officer answered, ' And I will mark 
yon. I live at such a place, and shall be ready to meet you.' 
Adams said he would go to his General. The officer said his 
General had nothing to do with it ; the affair was between 
them two." Diary and Letters, pp. 528, 529. 


ently to break up the Meeting, for order was soon 
restored, and we proceeded regularly and finished. I 
am persuaded that were it not for the Danger of pre- 
cipitating a Crisis, not a Man of them would have 
been spared. It was provoking enough to them, that 
while there were so many Troops stationed here for 
the design of suppressing Town-meetings, there 
should yet be a Meeting for the purpose of deliver- 
ing an oration to commemorate a massacre perpe- 
trated by soldiers, and to show the danger of stand- 
ing armies. 

And now Gage was preparing for the expe- 
dition to secure the stores at Concord, and 
make the oft- threatened seizure of Hancock 
and Adams. However the general may have 
vapored shortly before in England, he had 
shown since his arrival in Boston a judicious 
hesitation as to precipitating hostilities, which 
he saw well must at once follow the arrest of 
the important men. Reinforcements, however, 
were now on the way; he had been urged for- 
ward by letters from England, and he made 
ready for the attempt. Several months before 
this time, in the Provincial Congress, Samuel 
Adams had called attention to the danger of 
allowing expeditions of regulars into the inte- 
rior, and had recommended opposition if they 
should proceed more than ten miles from Bos- 
ton. From this suggestion it may have come 


about tli at the militia everywhere were so on 
the alert j and that on the evening of the 18th, 
when the news spread that the regulars were 
coming out, Jonas Parker's company paraded 
so promptly on Lexington Green. That night, 
in the house of the Rev. Jonas Clark, which 
still stands a few rods from the Common, lodged 
Samuel Adams and John Hancock, about to 
start upon their journey southward. Rumors 
of the coming of the troops had reached the 
village through several channels, and when an 
hour after midnight Parker's men loaded with 
powder and ball, Hancock and Adams, stepping 
over from the minister's, looked on. Shortly 
before, the centaur, Paul Revere, having es- 
caped from the clutches of the British, had 
galloped up, and found all asleep. The ser- 
geant, who with eight men was stationed at the 
house, roused by the courier's urgency, stated 
that the family did not wish to be disturbed 
by any noise. " Noise," cried Paul Revere, 
" you '11 have noise enough before long. The 
regulars are coming out." On came the light 
infantry, moving swiftly in the fresh night air. 
In a moment more occurred the incident of 
Major Pitcairn's order and pistol shot ; then 
while the smoke cleared after the memorable 
volley, Adams and Hancock were making their 
way across the fields to Woburn. For Adams 


it was an hour of triumph. The British had 
fired first; the Americans had "put the enemy 
in the wrong ; " the two sides were committed ; 
conciliation was no longer possible. As the sun 
rose there came from him one of the few exult- 
ant outbursts of his life : " What a glorious 
morning is this ! " They waited in the second 
precinct of Woburn, now Burlington, while the 
minute-men, through the forenoon, hurried by 
with their arms. At noon a man broke in 
upon them, at the house of the minister, with 
a shriek, and for a moment they thought them- 
selves lost. They were then piloted along a 
cart-way to a corner of Billerica, where they 
were glad to dine off cold salt pork and pota- 
toes served in a wooden tray. A day or two 
later they set out for Philadelphia. 

A spirited, manly letter is extant, written by 
John Hancock, at Worcester, to the Committee 
of Safety. We have already had occasion to 
notice his weakness ; his conduct hereafter will 
show still greater shortcomings. One is glad 
to view him at his best ; for at his best he was 
a generous and able man. 



HARTFORD was reached on the 29th by the 
two delegates, where, in a secret meeting with 
Governor Trumbull and others, they heard the 
plan arranged for the surprise of Ticonderoga. 
Gushing, John Adams, and Paine joined them, 
and soon afterward, in company with the Con- 
necticut delegation, the Massachusetts deputies 
entered New York with great ceremony. With 
their number increased to fourteen by the ad- 
dition of the New York delegates, they crossed 
the Hudson, escorted by five hundred gentle- 
men and two hundred militia. Through New 
Jersey the honors continued, and at Philadel- 
phia the climax was reached. Says Curwen's 
u Journal : " 

u Early in the morning a great number of persons 
rode out several miles, hearing that the Eastern del- 
egates were approaching, when, about eleven o'clock, 
the cavalcade appeared (I being near the upper end 
of Fore Street) ; first, two or three hundred gentle- 
men on horseback, preceded, however, by the newly 


chosen city military officers, two and two, with drawn 
swords, followed by John Hancock and Samuel Ad- 
ams in a phaeton and pair, the former looking as if 
his journey and high living, or solicitude to support 
the dignity of the first man in Massachusetts, had im- 
paired his health. Next came John Adams and 
Thomas Gushing in a single-horse chaise : behind fol- 
lowed Robert Treat Paine, and after him the New 
York delegation and some from the Province of Con- 
necticut, etc., etc. The rear was brought up by a 
hundred carriages, the streets crowded with people of 
all ages, sexes, and ranks. The procession marched 
with a slow, solemn pace. On its entrance into the 
city, all the bells were set to ringing and chiming, and 
every mark of respect that could be was expressed ; 
not much, I presume, to the secret liking of their fel- 
low delegates from the other colonies, who doubtless 
had to digest the distinction as easily as they could." 

The events of the 19th of April had widened 
the breach greatly ; nevertheless, when Samuel 
Adams, now more than ever looking forward to 
nothing less than independence, stood among 
his fellow members in the second Continental 
Congress, he found himself still alone. Even 
John Adams and Jefferson were as yet far from 
being ready for such a step, and in the debates 
the only questions raised were between a party 
which was in favor of resisting British encroach- 
ments by force of arms and a party which de- 
sired to make still further appeals to king and 


Parliament, both parties looking forward only 
to a restoration of the state of things existing 
before the disputes began. Among the leading 
statesmen of America, independence was the 
desire of Samuel Adams alone. He lost a 
staunch supporter just now in the untimely 
death of Josiah Quincy, Jr., by consumption, 
which occurred on shipboard in April, on his 
return from England, whither he had gone hop- 
ing for an improvement in health. Quincy's 
relations with Samuel Adams, who was twenty- 
two years older than he, were almost those of a 
son. Except Warren, no one stood higher in 
Adams's esteem, who always referred to him 
with respect and tenderness. Quincy, in turn, 
was devoted. u Let our friend, Samuel Adams, 
be one of the first to whom you show my let- 
ters," he wrote to his wife, and ngain, speak- 
ing of England: "The character of your Mr. 
Samuel Adams stands very high here. I find 
many who consider him the first politician in 
the world. I have found more reason every 
day to convince me he lias been right when 
others supposed him wrong." 

His reputation as a desperate and fanatical 
adventurer, with nothing to lose, still followed 
him, and his advocacy of a scheme was often an 
injury to it. Massachusetts, through Warren, 
now beyond all men the leader at home, sought 


to secure an authorization of the Provincial 
Congress, which many in the Continental Con- 
gress hesitated to grant, since it would be prac- 
tically a recognition of the independence of 
Massachusetts. When Peyton Randolph, how- 
ever, retired from the chair to attend the session 
of the Virginia Legislature, the presidency was 
given to Massachusetts, in the person of John 
Hancock, a measure for which the two Ad- 
amses worked hard, having in view a double 
advantage ; by putting the richest man in New 
England into conspicuous position, the idea was 
dispelled that only needy adventurers were con- 
cerned ; and, on the other hand, Hancock him- 
self was likely to be clamped firmly to the pop- 
ular cause by the honor which was shown him. 
By far the most important business trans- 
acted by the second Continental Congress was 
the appointment of Washington as commander- 
in-chief, a service principally due to John 
Adams, though the nomination was seconded 
by Samuel Adams. 

" Full of anxieties," says John Adams, " concern- 
ing these confusions, and apprehending daily that we 
should hear very distressing news from Boston, I 
walked with Mr. Samuel Adams in the State House 
yard, for a little exercise and fresh air, before the 
hour of Congress, and there represented to him the 
various dangers that surrounded us. He agreed to 


them all, but said, * What shall we do ? I answered 
him ... I was determined to take a step which 
should compel all the members of Congress to de- 
clare themselves for or against something. I am 
determined this morning to make a direct motion 
that Congress should adopt the army before Boston, 
and appoint Colonel Washington commander of it. 
Mr. Adams seemed to think very seriously of it, but 
said nothing. 

" Accordingly, when Congress had assembled, I 
rose in my place. . . . Mr. Washington, who hap- 
pened to sit near the door, as soon as he heard me 
allude to him, from his usual modesty, darted into 
the library-room. Mr. Hancock heard me with visi- 
ble pleasure, but when I came to describe Washington 
for the commander, I never remarked a more sudden 
and striking change of countenance. Mortification 
and resentment were expressed as forcibly as his face 
could exhibit them. Mr. Samuel Adams seconded 
the motion, and that did not soften the president's 
physiognomy at all." 

On the 12th of June Gage made his proc- 
lamation, offering pardon "to all persons who 
shall forthwith lay down their Arms and return 
to the Duties of peaceable Subjects, excepting 
only from the Benefit of such Pardon Samuel 
Adams and John Hancock, whose Offences 
are of too flagitious a Nature to admit of any 
other Consideration than that of condign Pun- 
ishment." News of his proscription probably 


readied Samuel Adams at the same time with 
that of the battle of Bunker Hill, and of the 
death of the man whom he is believed to have 
loved beyond all others, Dr. Warren. The fol- 
lowing letter to his wife is contained among his 
manuscripts : 

PHIL., June 28th, 1775. 

MY DEAREST BETSY, yesterday I received Letters 
from some of our. Friends at the Camp informing me 
of the Engagement between the American Troops and 
the Rebel Army in Charlestown. I can not but be 
greatly rejoyced at the tryed Valor of our Country- 
men, who by all Accounts behaved with an intrepidity 
becoming those who fought for their Liberties against 
the mercenary Soldiers of a Tyrant. It is painful to 
me to reflect on the Terror I must suppose you were 
under on hearing the Noise of War so near. Favor 
me my dear with an Account of your Apprehensions 
at that time, under your own hand. I pray God to 
cover the heads of our Countrymen in every day of 
Battle and ever to protect you from Injury in these 
distracted times. The Death of our truly amiable 
and worthy Friend Dr. Warren is greatly afflicting ; 
the Language of Friendship is, how shall we resign 
him; but it is our Duty to submit to the Dispensations 
of Heaven " whose ways are ever gracious, ever just." 
He fell in the glorious Struggle for publick Liberty. 
Mr. Pitts and Dr. Church inform me that my dear 
Son has at length escaped from the Prison at Boston. 
. . . Remember me to my dear Hannah and sister 


Polly and to all Friends. Let me know where good 
old Surry is. Gage has made me respectable by 
naming me first among those who are to receive no 
favor from him. I thouroughly despise him and his 
Proclamation. . . . The Clock is now striking twelve. 
I therefore wish you a good Night. 

Yours most affectionately, 


Wells has stated that no letter of Samuel 
Adams can be found in which any reference 
is made to the death of Warren, overlooking 
that which has just been given. It is, per- 
haps, singular that Adams expressed no more. 
" Their kindred souls were so closely twined 
that both felt one joy, both one affliction," said 
the orator at Warren's re-interment after the 
British evacuation. That Samuel Adams wore 
him in his heart of hearts all men knew, and 
his silence is part of that reticence as to his 
own emotions which has been referred to as so 
constantly marking him. His relation to War- 
ren, who died at thirty-five, was similar to that 
in which he stood to Quincy, though somewhat 
more intimate. " The future seemed burdened 
with his honors," says Bancroft of Warren, and 
it is hard to see how promise could be finer. 
His powers were becoming calmed and trained, 
while losing no particle of their youthful force. 
He was at once prudent and yet most impetu- 


ous, able in debate in town-meeting or Assem- 
bly, prompt and intrepid in the field. Either 
as statesman or as soldier lie might have been 
his country's pride. 

Samuel Adams swept aside personal griefs 
and perils. He adopted Washington cordially, 
and poured out for him whatever information 
could be of value to a man of the South about 
to take command of au army of New England 
troops. He strove to prepare for him a good 
reception by sending beforehand to the impor- 
tant men the most favorable commendations. 
Less fortunate was the work of the Adamses in 
behalf of Charles Lee, who, largely through 
them, was appointed second in command, the 
eccentric, selfish marplot, who so nearly wrecked 
the cause he assumed to uphold. On the 1st of 
August the second Continental Congress ad- 
journed until the 5th of September, the Massa- 
chusetts delegation, on their return, having in 
care five hundred thousand dollars for the use 
of the army of Washington. 

When Samuel Adams, with his fellow dele- 
gates, arrived from Philadelphia, he found in 
s >ssion " The General Assembly of the territory 
of Massachusetts Bay," in which he was to sit 
as one of the eighteen councilors. He was at 
once made Secretary of State. His son became 
a surgeon in the army of Washington, while his 


wife and daughter were inmates of the family 
of Mrs. Adams's father at Cambridge. Leaving 
his public functions in the hands of a deputy- 
secretary, Samuel Adams is in the saddle again 
on the 12th of September, and, after riding 
three hundred miles on a horse lent him by 
John Adams, with great benefit to his health, 
he is soon once more at Philadelphia, for the 
opening of the third Continental Congress. 

The jealousy toward New England was now 
even greater than ever before in the proprietary 
and some of the southern colonies. Gadsden, 
R. H. Lee, Patrick Henry, and a few others, 
were ready for independence. As yet, however, 
there was no discussion of this matter. Samuel 
Adams, impatient, began to entertain the idea 
of establishing independence for the New Eng- 
land colonies by themselves, cherishing the hope 
that the rest would follow in time. 

The defection of Dr. Benjamin Church, which 
was discovered in the fall of 1775, must have 
caused him pain scarcely less than the deaths of 
Quincy and Warren. Next to these, no one of 
the younger men had promised more fairly than 
Church. His abilities were brilliant, his inter- 
est in all the Whig projects apparently most 
sincere. He had been implicitly trusted. Years 
before, while secretly a writer for the govern- 
ment, he had escaped discovery. Now he was 


detected, while betraying to the enemy, by let- 
ters written in cipher, the plans of the Massa- 
chusetts patriots. He narrowly escaped execu- 
tion. He was allowed to take passage for the 
West Indies in a ship which was never heard 
of more. 

To relate particularly the doings of the Con- 
tinental Congress must be left to the general 
historian. The reports are meagre; a thousand 
details came up for consideration, and Samuel 
Adams was busy in many different ways which 
it would be wearisome to try to trace. Inde- 
pendence was more than ever at his heart, but 
seemed as far off as ever. John Adams, who 
had reached his ground at last, went home in 
the winter and remained two months ; Han- 
cock, becoming estranged from his plain com- 
panions, affiliated with the aristocratic members 
from the middle and southern colonies ; both 
Gushing and Paine favored conciliation. Jef- 
ferson remembered Samuel Adams as the chief 
promoter of the invasion of Canada. He be- 
came warmly friendly to the brave Montgomery, 
followed with ardent hope the reduction of St. 
Johns, Chambly, and Montreal, and was much 
afflicted when the young conqueror was struck 
down in the winter storm at Quebec. Disaster, 
as always, nerved him to new efforts. 


The reader will be interested in the following 
letter from his wife, copied from the autograph, 
which the " bad paper " and the "pen made 
with scissars " make not easily decipherable : 

CAMBRIDGE Feb. 12 th , 1776. 

MY DEAR, I Received your affectiuate Letter by 
Feseiiton and I thank you for your kind Concern for 
My health and Safty. I beg you Would not give 
yourself any pain on our being so Near the Camp; 
the place I am in is so Situated, that if the Regulars 
should ever take Prospect Hill, which god forbid, I 
should be able to Make an Escape, as I am Within a 
few stone casts of a Back Road, Which Leads to the 
Most Retired part of Newtown. ... I beg you to 
Excuse the very poor Writing as My paper is Bad and 
my pen made with Scissars. I should be glad (My 
dear), if you should 'nt come down soon, you would 
Write me Word Who to apply to for some Monney, 
for I am low in Cash and Every thing is very dear. 
May I subscribe myself yours 


The chafing fanatic of independence, whose 
fire was rising more and more, sent out in 
February an '* Earnest Appeal to the People." 
The opponents of independence, led now by the 
able Wilson of Pennsylvania, conspicuous af- 
terwards in the debates on the constitution, and 
as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, pursued a vigorous course. Helped es- 


pecially by Wyeth of Virginia, Samuel Adams 
stood against them. His abilities were greater 
in other fields than on the floor of debate, ready 
and impressive though he was, and he at this 
time sadly missed the help of John Adams, 
whose power here was of the highest. The 
baffled striver, borne down for the time by the 
odds against him, gnashed his teeth against his 
colleagues, Hancock, Paine, and Gushing, who 
rendered him no help. " Had I suggested an 
idea of the vanity of the ape, the tameness of 
the ox, or the stupid servility of the ass, I 
might have been liable to censure ; " thus he 
wrote. Massachusetts stood nobly by him, for 
at the reelection of delegates, though Hancock 
was returned, like the two Adamses, by a good 
majority, Paine was barely chosen, and Gush- 
ing was entirely dropped, Elbridge Gerry of 
Marblebead taking his place, and showing him- 
self at once a capable combatant side by side 
with the veteran. 

But a change was preparing. Speaking of 
the work of Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams 
bore this testimony to its value : " 4 Common 
Sense ' and 4 The Crisis ' undoubtedly awakened 
the public mind, and led the people loudly to 
call for a declaration of independence." But 
months were to pass before the new mood 
of the people was to make itself felt in Con- 


gress. Adams, with the small phalanx of ad- 
vanced men, among whom, besides Wyeth, 
were Ward of Rhode Island, Chase of Mary- 
land, and Oliver Wolcott and Roger Sherman 
of Connecticut, faced the moderate men. He 
fought also outside, trying especially to coun- 
teract the influence of the Quakers, a sect 
whose conduct in general tried his patience 
greatly, and which in convention just before 
had issued an address strongly urging unquali- 
fied submission. Samuel Adams handled with- 
out gloves the respectable broad-brims : 

" * But,' say the puling, pusillanimous cowards, ' we 
shall be subject to a long and bloody war, if we de- 
clare independence.' On the contrary, I affirm it the 
only step that can bring the contest to a speedy and 
happy issue. By declaring independence we put our- 
selves on a footing for an equal negotiation. Now 
we are called a pack of villainous rebels, who, like the 
St. Vincent's Indians, can expect nothing more than 
a pardon for our lives, and the sovereign favor, re- 
specting freedom and property, to be at the king's 
will. Grant, Almighty God, that I may be numbered 
with the dead before that sable day dawns on North 

Samuel Adams undoubtedly prepared the 
resolutions respecting the disarming of the To* 
ries, being chairman of the committee on that 
matter. It was more and more the case that 


his state papers before the war became the 
models for important documents, and were used 
directly to explain to the public the justice of 
the American cause. John Adams, until within 
a few months, and Jefferson, to the present mo- 
ment, had regarded independence with disfavor, 
only to be accepted as a last resort. Franklin 
looked upon it as an event, which, if it must 
come, was lamentable. Washington, in the first 
Congress, denied that the colonies desired, or 
that it was for their interest, "separately or 
collectively, to set up for independence." Up 
to the time when he became commander-in- 
chief, he desired peace and reconciliation on an 
honorable basis. Joseph Warren died without 
desiring American freedom. Even after Lex- 
ington he favored reconciliation, founded on 
the maintenance of colonial rights. " This," 
said lie, " I most heartily wish, as I feel a warm 
affection for the parent state." Samuel Adams 
had a few correspondents of views similar to 
his own. Such were Joseph Hawley, who, be- 
cause he was ill, or through some unaccounta- 
ble neglect, was suffered to hide his fine powers 
and accomplishments during all these mighty 
years in the seclusion of Northampton ; also Dr. 
Samuel Cooper, and James Warren of Plym- 
outh, fast rising in Massachusetts to take his 
namesake's place in council, though he never 


appeared in the field. To the latter Adams 
writes in April : " The child Independence is 
now struggling for birth. I trust that in a 
short time it will be brought forth, and, in spite 
of Pharaoh, all America will hail the dignified 
stranger." The plain people, too, whom he 
loved and trusted, rallied to him. At last, on 
the 6th of April, while the Pennsylvania As- 
sembly, under the lead of the incorrigible Dick- 
inson, who was now as energetic at the brake 
as he had once been on the engine, was in- 
structing its delegates to discourage separation, 
a measure was passed abolishing British cus- 
tom-houses in the thirteen colonies, and open- 
ing their ports to the commerce of the world. 
Samuel Adams was on the committee that re- 
ported it, and wrote to Hawley that the "united 
colonies had torn into shivers the British acts 
of trade." By May 10, under the lead of John 
Adams, Congress had recommended to the col- 
onies to set up governments of their own, sup- 
pressing all crown authority. In May, also, the 
Virginia delegates were instructed from home 
to declare for independence ; Maryland was 
won through the influence of Thomas Chase ; 
in Pennsylvania the power of Dickinson visibly 
waned ; everywhere there was movement, until 
on the 5th of June Richard Henry Lee of Vir- 
ginia offered his resolution declaring the col- 


onies free and independent states, recommend- 
ing the formation of foreign alliances, and a 
plan of confederation. 

As in some elaborate piece of music, a mighty 
march with distinct, slowly succeeding tones 
goes forward, while the intervals are filled in 
with innumerable subordinated notes, so in this 
advance toward independence, while the sol- 
emn steps are measured, a thousand minor de- 
tails are every where interspersed. The hour 
at hand constantly pressed. Powder in this di- 
rection, provisions and clothes in that ; troops 
to be recruited ; roads to be built ; inert Whigs 
to be stimulated ; active Tories to be sup- 
pressed ; officers to be commissioned ; plans of 
campaign to be devised ; hostile projects to 
be counteracted ; all this must go forward. 
Samuel Adams bore his part in all the intrica- 
cies, but saw to it that the main theme should 
be forever thundered with a volume more and 
more prevailing. 

On the 8th of June began the debate on 
Lee's resolution. We do not know the special 
arguments used, nor with certainty the names 
of the speakers on the side of independence, ex- 
cepting John Adams. Elbridge Gerry, many 
years after, told the daughter of Samuel Ad- 
ams that the success of Lee's measure was 
largely due to the " timely remarks " of her 


father ; that in one speech he occupied an un- 
usually long time, and that two or three waver- 
ing members were finally convinced by him. 
He remembered it as Samuel Adams's ablest 
effort. Edward Rutledge, at length, brought 
about a postponement of the question for three 
weeks, that the hesitating delegates of the cen- 
tral colonies might have time to consult their 
constituents ; but not before Jefferson, John 
Adams, Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert 
R. Livingston had been made a committee to 
prepare the Declaration. One who follows this 
story must feel regret that Samuel Adams was 
not of this number. It happened not through 
neglect, for at the same time he was appointed 
to stand for Massachusetts on a committee re- 
garded, probably, as certainly not less impor- 
tant, a committee, namely, consisting of one 
from each colony, to prepare a plan of confed- 

The three weeks passed, during which the 
ripening sentiment of the country made itself 
strongly felt by Congress. For Samuel Adams 
it was a time of labor, for now it was, in per- 
sonal conferences with hesitating members, that 
he brought to bear his peculiar powers. When 
the measure was again taken up, on the first 
days of July, all was secured. There was no 
longer a dissenting voice, and the delegates, 


after the memorable form, pledged their lives, 
their fortunes, and their sacred honor. 

It seems to have been not at all a solemn 
hour. The weather was very hot, and through 
the open windows there came in from a stable 
close by a swarm of mosquitoes and horse-flies, 
who bit viciously at the legs of the members 
through their silk stockings. American patri- 
otism owes to these energetic insects an obliga- 
tion very great and by no means adequately 
recognized ; for the Fathers, wrought upon by 
the sedulously applied torment, hastened to 
sign the famous document of Jefferson, sub- 
mitted at last by the committee. Now that 
the struggle was over, the members became 
positively hilarious in their good-nature. John 
Hancock dashed down his great signature in 
such shape " that George the Third might read 
it without his spectacles." " Now we must all 
hang together," it was remarked. " Yes," said 
Franklin, "or we shall all hang separately." 
"When it comes to the hanging," said fat Mr. 
Harrison of Virginia to lean little Elbridge 
Gerry of Massachusetts, " I shall have the ad- 
vantage of you : for my neck, probably, will be 
broken at the first drop, whereas you may have 
to dangle for half an hour." 

For Samuel Adams it was the most tri- 
umphant moment of his life ; but he writes 


thus calmly to his friend, John Pitts, at Bos- 
ton : 

PHIL. July, 1776. 

MY DEAR SIR, you were informed by the last Post 
that Congress had declared the thirteen United Col- 
onies free and independent States. It must be al- 
lowed by the impartial World that this Declaration has 
not been made rashly. . . . Too Much I fear has been 
lost by Delay, but an accession of several Colonies 
has been gained by it. Delegates of every Colony 
were present and concurred in this important Act ex- 
cept those of New York, who were not authorized to 
give their Voice on the Question, but they have since 
publickly said that a new Convention was soon to 
meet in that Colony, and they had not the least Doubt 
of their acceding to it. Our Path is now open to 
form a plan of Confederation and propose Alliances 
with foreign States. I hope our Affairs will now 
wear a more agreable aspect than they have of late. 

S. A. 1 
1 Copied from the autograph. 



WE have reached a point in the career of 
Samuel Adams from which it will be conven- 
ient to take a retrospect. He was now fifty- 
four years old. Although his life was destined 
to continue more than a quarter of a century 
longer, and although the work that he accom- 
plished in the years that were coming was im- 
portant, liis great and peculiar desert is for the 
work done during these twelve years from 1764 
to 1776, with the description of which this book 
has been thus far occupied. That Massachu- 
setts led the thirteen colonies during the years 
preliminary to the Revolution has been suffi- 
ciently set forth ; that Boston led Massachusetts 
is plain ; the reader of the foregoing pages will 
clearly understand that it was Samuel Adams 
who led Boston. If the remark that Bancroft 
somewhere makes is just, that " American free- 
dom was more prepared by courageous coun- 
sel than successful war," it would be hard to 


exaggerate the value of the work of Samuel 
Adams in securing it. 

Bancroft has spoken of Samuel Adams as, 
more than any other man, " the type and repre- 
sentative of the New England town-meeting." 1 
Boston, as we have seen, is the largest com- 
munity that ever maintained the town organiza- 
tion, probably also the most generally able tmd 
intelligent. No other town ever played so con- 
spicuous M part in connection with important 
events. Probably in the whole history of the 
Anglo-Saxon race there has been no other so 
interesting manifestation of the activity of the 
folk-mote. Of this town of towns Samuel 
Adams was the son of sons. He was strangely 
identified with it always. He was trained in 
Boston schools and Harvard College. He never 
left the town except on the town's errands, or 
those of the Province of which it was the head. 
He had no private business after the first years 
of his manhood ; he was the public servant sim- 
ply and solely in places large and small, fire- 
ward, committee to see that chimneys were 
safe, tax collector, moderator of town-meeting, 
representative. One may almost call him the 
creature of the town-meeting. His development 
has taken place among the talk of the town pol- 

1 In a private conversation with the writer ; also Hist, of 
Constitution, ii. 260. 


iticians at his father's house, on the floors of 
Faneuil Hall and the Old South, from the time 
when he looked on as a wondering boy to the 
time when he stood there as the master-figure. 
" His chief dependence," wrote Hutchinson, 
in a passage already quoted, " is upon Boston 
town-meeting, where he originates the measures 
which are followed by the rest of the towns, 
and, of course, are adopted or justified by the 
Assembly." Edward Everett declared too, in 
the Lexington oration, that 

" The throne of his ascendency was in Faneuil 
Hall. As each new measure of arbitrary power was 
announced from across the Atlantic, or each new act 
of menace and violence on the part of the officers of 
the government or of the army occurred in Boston, 
its citizens, oftentimes in astonishment and perplexity, 
rallied to the sound of his voice in Faneuil Hall; and 
there, as from the crowded gallery or the moderator's 
chair he animated, enlightened, fortified, and roused 
the admiring throng, he seemed to gather them to- 
gether beneath the cegis of his indomitable spirit, as a 
hen gathereth her chickens under her wings." 

Though the sphere of his activity was to so 
large an extent the Massachusetts Assembly, he 
was not the less for that, as has appeared, the 
" man of the town-meeting." The Assembly 
was a collection of deputies, of whom each was 
the mouthpiece of his constituency, having the 



folk-mote behind him, which limited his action 
by careful instructions, kept sharp watch of his 
behavior, and suffered him to hold office for so 
short a term that he was in no danger of getting 
beyond control. The Assembly was, therefore, 
rather a convention of town-meetings than a 
representative, body, bearing in mind Dr. Lie- 
ber's distinction ; and when Samuel Adams ar- 
rayed and manoeuvred them in the west cham- 
ber of the Old State House against Bernard or 
Hutchinson in the east chamber, the regi- 
ments lying threateningly just behind, either 
in the town or at the Castle, it was the Mas- 
sachusetts towns that he marshaled almost as 
much as if the population had actually come 
from the hills and the plains, gathering as do 
the hamlets of Uri and Appenzell in Switzer- 
land, to legislate for themselves without any 
delegation of authority. 1 

We have seen that New England had been 
prolific of children fitted for the time. Men 
like John Scollay, William Cooper, William 
Molineux, William Phillips, Robert Pierpont, 
John Pitts, Paul Revere, plain citizens, mer- 
chants, mechanics, selectmen of the town, dea- 
cons in the churches, cool headed, well-to-do, 
persistent, courageous, were sturdy wheel-horses 
for the occasion. Of a higher order, and great 

1 Freeman, Growth of the English Const. 


figures in our story, have been James Otis, 
James Bowdoin, Joseph Hawley, Thomas Gush- 
ing ; and of the younger generation, John Han- 
cock, Josiah Quincy, Joseph Warren, John Ad- 
ams, Benjamin Church, men who had some 
of them a gift of eloquence to set hearts on fire, 
some of them executive power, some of them 
cunning to lay trains and supply the flash nt the 
proper time, some wealth, and birth, and high 
social position. It was a wonderful group, but 
in every one there was some inadequacy. The 
splendid Otis, whose leadership was at first un- 
questioned, who had only to enter Boston town- 
meeting to call forth shouts and clapping of 
hands, and who had equal authority in the 
Assembly, was, as early as 177C, fast sinking 
into insanity. In spite of fits of unreasonable 
violence and absurd folly, vacillations between 
extremes of subserviency and audacious resist- 
ance, his influence with the people long re- 
mained. He was like the huge cannon on the 
man-of-war, in Victor Hugo's story, that had 
broken from its moorings in the storm, and be- 
come a terror to those whom it formerly de- 
fended. He was indeed a great gun, from whom 
in the time of the Stamp Act had been sent the 
most powerful bolts against unconstitutional 
oppression. With lashings parted, however, as 
the storm grew violent he plunged dangerously 


from side to side, almost sinking the ship, all 
the more an object of dread from the calibre 
that had once made him so serviceable. It was 
a melancholy sight, and yet a great relief, when 
his friends saw him at last bound hand and foot, 
and carried into retirement. 

Bowdoin, also, was not firm in health, and 
though most active and useful in the Council, has 
thus far done little elsewhere. Hawley, far in 
the interior, was often absent from the centre in 
critical times, and somewhat unreliable through 
a strange moodiness ; Gushing was weak ; Han- 
cock was hampered by foibles that sometimes 
quite canceled his merits ; Quincy was a bril- 
liant youth, and, like a youth, sometimes fickle. 
We have seen him ready to temporize when 
to falter was destruction, as at the time of the 
casting over of the tea ; again, in unwise fervor, 
he could counsel assassination as a proper ex- 
pedient. Warren, too, could rush into extremes 
of rashness and ferocity, wishing that he might 
wade to the knees in blood, and had just reached 
sober, self-reliant manhood when he was taken 
off. John Adams showed only an intermittent 
zeal in the public cause until the preliminary 
work was done, and Benjamin Church, half- 
hearted and venal, early began the double-deal- 
ing which was to bring him to a traitor's end. 

There was need in this group of a man of suf- 


ficient ascendency, through intellect and char- 
acter, to win deference from all, wise enough 
to see always the supreme end, to know what 
each instrument was fit for, and to bring all 
forces to bear in the right way, a man of 
consummate adroitness, to sail in torpedo-sown 
waters without exciting an explosion, though 
conducting wires of local prejudice, class-sensi- 
tiveness, and personal foible 011 every hand led 
straight down to magazines of wrath which 
might shatter the cause in a moment, a man 
having resources of his own to such an extent 
that he could supplement from himself what 
was wanting in others, always awake though 
others might want to sleep, always at work 
though others might be tired, a man de- 
voted, without thought of personal gain or fame, 
simply and solely to the public cause. Such 
a man there was, and his name was Samuel 

In character and career he was a singular 
combination of things incongruous. He was in 
religion the narrowest of Puritans, but in man- 
ner very genial. He was perfectly rigid in his 
opinions, but in his expression of them often 
very compliant. He was the most conservative 
of men, but was regarded as were the u aboli- 
tion fanatics " in our time, before the emancipa- 
tion proclamation. Who will say that his up- 


Tightness was not inflexible ? Yet a wilier fox 
than lie in all matters of political manoeuvring 
our history does not show. In business he had 
no push or foresight, but in politics was a won- 
der of force and shrewdness. In a voice full of 
trembling he expressed opinions, of which the 
audacity would have brought him at once to the 
halter if he could have been seized. Even in 
his young manhood his hair had become gray 
and his hand shook as if with paralysis ; but lie 
lived, as we shall see, to his eighty-second year, 
his work rarely interrupted by sickness, serving 
as governor of Massachusetts for several suc- 
cessive terms after he had lived his three score 
and ten years, almost the last survivor among 
the great pre-revolutionary figures. 

Among his endowments eloquence was not his 
most conspicuous power. As an orator Samuel 
Adams was surpassed by several of his contem- 
poraries. His ordinary style of speech \vas 
plain and straight-forward, rarely, it is prob- 
able, burning out into anything like splendor. 
For swelling rhetoric he was quite too sincere 
and earnest. John Adams, in his old age, 
said : 

" In his common appearance, he was a plain, sim- 
ple, decent citizen, of middling stature, dress, and 
manners. He had an exquisite ear for music, and a 
charming voice when he pleased to exert it. Yet his 


ordinary speeches in town-meetings, in the House of 
Representatives, arid in Congress, exhibited nothing 
extraordinary; but upon great occasions, when his 
deeper feelings were excited, he erected himself, or 
rather nature seemed to erect him, without the small- 
est symptom of affectation, into an upright dignity of 
figure and gesture, and gave a harmony to his voice 
which made a strong impression on spectators and 
auditors, the more lasting for the purity, correct- 
ness, and nervous elegance of his style." 

In Philadelphia, in 1774, 1775, and 1776, 
John Adams probably was by far the best de- 
bater in Congress. Jefferson wrote : 

"As a speaker Samuel Adams could not be com- 
pared with his living colleague and namesake, whose 
deep conceptions, nervous style, and undaunted firm- 
ness 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, abun- 
dant in good sense, and master always of his subject, 
that he commanded the most profound attention when- 
ever he rose in an assembly by which the froth of 
declamation was heard with the most sovereign con- 

Samuel Adams had his say and ceased. One 
may be quite certain that he was seldom tedi- 
ous. He was never the " dinner-bell " of town- 
meeting or Assembly ; but James Otis and John 
Adams certainly surpassed him as orators, the 


former of whom might with good reason con- 
test with Patrick Henry the title of " the 
American Chatham," while the latter was well 
called "the Colossus of debate." 

Nor is it as a writer that Samuel Adams is 
at his best. It is probable that he was one 
of the most voluminous writers whom America 
has as yet produced. Some twenty-five sig- 
natures have been identified as used by him in 
the newspapers at different times. At the same 
moment that he filled the papers, he went on 
with his preparation of documents for the town 
and the Assembly till one wonders how a sin- 
gle brain could have achieved it all. If those 
writings only which can be identified were pub- 
lished, the collection would present a formida- 
ble array of polemical documents, embracing all 
the great issues out of whose discussion grew 
our independence. They were meant for a par- 
ticular purpose, to shatter British oppression, 
and when that purpose was secured, their au- 
thor was perfectly careless as to what became 
of them. Like cannon-balls which sink the 
ship, and then are lost in the sea, so the bolts 
of Samuel Adams, after riddling British au- 
thority in America, must be sought by diving 
beneath the oblivion that has rolled over them. 
Of the portion that has been recovered, these 
pages have given specimens enough to justify a 


high estimate of the genius and accomplish- 
ments of their author. It was an age of great 
political writers. Contemporary in England 
were Burke and " Junius," in France, Mon- 
tesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire, in America, 
Dickinson, Franklin, and Paine. Samuel Ad- 
ams will bear a good comparison with them, 
generally offering for any shortcoming some 
compensating merit. If there is never the mag- 
nificence of Burke, there is an absence, too, of 
all turgid and labored rhetoric. If there is a lack 
of Franklin's pith and wit, there is a lack, too, 
of Poor Richard's penny wisdom. If we miss 
the tremendous invective of " Junius," we find 
instead of acrid cruelty the spirit of humanity. 
If there is no over bitter denunciation, there is 
on the other hand no milk and water. While 
he is never pedantic, the reader has had occa- 
sion to see his familiarity with ancient and 
modern literature, and in particular his ac- 
quaintance with writers upon constitutional his- 
tory. The clearness of his style is admirable, 
his logic unvaryingly good. His intensity of 
conviction, both religious and political, some- 
times makes him narrow. He can speak only 
in stern terms of a Tory ; scarcely otherwise of 
a Catholic or Episcopalian ; to free-thinkers 
like Franklin and Paine he did not at first find 
it easy to be cordial. But had he been more 


tolerant, he must have been less intense and 

Thnt the power of Samuel Adams as a writer 
was better appreciated by his contemporaries 
than it has been by Ids successors is abun- 
dantly apparent. The man who more than any 
other felt his blows has left it on record that 
Samuel Adams had been "for near twenty 
years a writer against government in the pub- 
lic newspapers, at first but an indifferent one ; 
long practice caused him to arrive at great per- 
fection, and to acquire a talent of artfully and 
fallaciously insinuating into the minds of his 
readers a prejudice against the character of all 
whom he attacked, beyond any other man I 
ever knew." " Bernard," says a contemporary, 
" used to k damn that Adams. Every dip of his 
pen stings like a horned snake.' " These are 
the bitter, chagrin-charged comments of his 
opponents. His friends found no words strong 
enough to make known their appreciation. 
That the patriots were in the majority they 
directly attributed to him. Says James Sulli- 
van : tk By his speeches and c Gazette ' produc- 
tions a large majority was produced and main- 
tained in Massachusetts in opposition to the 
claims of the ministry." Says John Adams : 
" A collection of his writings would be as curi- 
ous as voluminous. It would throw light upon 


American history for fifty years. In it would 
be found specimens of a nervous simplicity of 
reasoning and eloquence that have never been 
rivaled in America." 

It was, however, as a manager of men that 
Samuel Adams was greatest. Such a master of 
the methods by which a town-meeting may be 
swayed, the world has never seen. On the 
best of terms with the people, the ship-yard 
men, the distillers, the sailors, as well as the 
merchants and ministers, he knew precisely 
what springs to touch. He was the prince of 
canvassers, the very king of the caucus, of which 
his father was the inventor. His ascendency 
was quite extraordinary and no less marked 
over men of ability than over ordinary minds. 
Always clear-headed and cool in the most 
confusing turmoil, he had ever at command, 
whether he was button-holing a refractory in- 
dividual or haranguing a Faneuil Hall meeting, 
a simple but most effective style of speech. As 
to his tact, was it ever surpassed ? We have 
seen Samuel Adams introduce Hancock into 
the public service, as he did a dozen others. It 
is curious to notice how he knew afterwards in 
what ways, while he stroked to sleep Hancock's 
vanity and peevishness, to bring him, all un- 
conscious, to bear, now against the Boston 
Tories, now against the English ministry, now 


against prejudice in the other colonies. Pen- 
niless as he was himself, it was a great point, 
when the charge was made that the Massachu- 
setts leaders were desperate adventurers who 
had nothing to risk, to be able to parade Han- 
cock in his silk and velvet, with his handsome 
vehicle and aristocratic mansion. One hardly 
knows which to wonder at most, the astuteness 
or the self-sacrifice with which, in order to pre- 
sent a measure effectively or to humor a touchy 
co-worker, he continually postpones himself 
while he gives the foreground to others. Per- 
haps the most useful act of his life was the 
bringing into being of the Boston Committee 
of Correspondence ; yet when all was arranged, 
while he himself kept the laboring oar, he put 
at the head the faltering Otis. Again arid 
again, when a fire burned for which he could 
not trust himself, he would turn on the mag- 
nificent speech of Otis, or Warren, or Quincy, 
or Church, who poured their copious jets, often 
quite unconscious that cunning Sam Adams 
really managed the valves and was directing 
the stream. 

The same ability at management has showed 
itself in his career in the Continental Congress. 
" I always considered him," said Jefferson, " more 
than any other member, the fountain of our 
more important measures ; " and again, writing 
in 1825 : 


"If there was any Palinurus to the Revolution, 
Samuel Adams was the man. Indeed, in the East- 
ern States, for a year or two after it began, he was 
truly the Man of the Revolution. He was constantly 
holding caucuses of distinguished men (among whom 
was R. H. Lee), at which the generality of the meas- 
ures pursued were previously determined on, and at 
which the parts were assigned to the different actors 
who afterwards appeared in them. John Adams had 
very little part in these caucuses ; but as one of the 
actors in the measures decided on in them, he was a 

How profound was the belief which the To- 
ries held in his cunning has been illustrated in 
the case of Hutchinson. Here are still other 
testimonies. The charge of duplicity becomes 
intelligible, from that Machiavellian streak in 
his character, the existence of which it is use- 
less to attempt to deny : 

" John Adams is the creature and kinsman of Sam 
uel Adams, the Cromwell of New England, to whose 
intriguing arts the Declaration of Independence is in 
a great measure to be attributed, the history of which 
will not be uninteresting. 

" When the Northern delegates broached their po- 
litical tenets in Congress, they were interrogated by 
some of the Southern ones, whether they did or did 
not aim at independence, to which mark their violent 
principles seemed to tend. Samuel Adams, with as 
grave a face as hypocrisy ever wore, affirmed that 


they did not ; but in the evening of the same day, in 
a circle of confidential friends (as he took them to 
be), confessed that the independence of the colonies 
had been the great object of his life ; that whenever 
he had met with a youth of parts, he had endeavored 
to instil such notions into his mind, and had neglected 
no opportunity, either in public or in private, of pre- 
paring the way for that event which now, thank God, 
was at hand. 

" He watched the favorable moment when, by plead- 
ing the necessity of a foreign alliance, and urging the 
impracticability of obtaining it without a declaration 
of independence, he finally succeeded in the accom- 
plishment of his wishes." 1 

Another Tory, writing from Boston early in 
this year, assails Adams and Hancock in this 
wise : 

*' This man, whom but a day before hardly any 
man would have trusted with a shilling, and whose 
honesty they were jealous of, now became the confi- 
dant of the people. With his oily tongue he duped a 
man whose brains were shallow and pockets deep, and 
ushered him to the public as a patriot too. He filled 
his head with importance, and emptied his pockets, 
and as a reward kicked him up the ladder where he 
now presides over the * Twelve United Provinces,' 
and where they both are at present plunging you, my 
countrymen, into the depths of distress." 

i "Decius," Lond. Morn. Post, 1779 (Moore's Diary of the 
Revolution, ii. 144). 


After the destruction of Rivington's press 
in New York, the loyalist printer returned to 
England, and published a pamphlet to show 
that the intention of Congress was to assert 
American independence and maintain it with 

the sword. 

" That I may thoroughly explain this matter," he 

continues, " it is necessary the public should be made 
acquainted with a very conspicuous character, no less 
a man than Mr. SAMUEL ADAMS, the would-be Crom- 
well of America. As to his colleague, JOHN HAN- 
COCK, that gentleman is, in the language of Hu- 

'A very good and useful tool 
Which knaves do work with, called a fool/ 

But he is too contemptible for animadversion. He 
may move our pity, not our indignation. Mr. Ad- 
ams, on the other hand, is one of those demagogues 
who well know how to quarter themselves on a man 
of fortune, and, having no property of his own, lias 
for some time found it mighty convenient to appro- 
priate the fortune of Mr. Hancock to public uses, 
I mean the very laudable purpose of carrying on a 
trade in politics. 

" Mr. Adams finding, therefore, how very profitable 
a business of this kind might be made without the 
necessity of a capital of his own, it is no wonder he 
should eagerly embrace the opportunity of dealing in 
political wares with the demagogues of Britain. 

" In justice to that gentleman's talents and virtues, 


it must be confessed that he is an adept in the busi- 
ness, and is as equal to the task of forwarding a re- 
bellion as most men. He is therefore far from being 
unworthy the notice of British patriots. His politics 
are of a nature admirably adapted to impose on a 
credulous multitude. 

, " Mr. Adams's character may be defined in a few 
words. He is a hypocrite in religion, a republican in 
politics, of sufficient cunning to form a consummate 
knave, possessed of as much learning as is necessary 
to disguise the truth with sophistry, and so complete 
a moralist that it is one of his favorite axioms, ' The 
end will justify the means.' When to such accom- 
plished talents and principles we add an empty pocket, 
an unbounded ambition, and a violent disaffection to 
Great Britain, we shall be able to form some idea of 
Mr. Samuel Adams." 

" That Machiavellian streak in his char- 
acter ! " But do we need to go out of our way 
and call it Machiavellian ? He would have 
been, alas ! a less typical New Englander had 
he not stooped now and then to a piece of sharp 
practice. No Sam Slick, peddling out his cargo 
of clocks, or whittling away at a horse-swap, 
or (we must regretfully say it) inventing and 
distributing his wooden nutmegs, was ever 
" cuter " than Samuel Adams. The uncon- 
scionable outside world, while it ascribes to the 
Yankee character a thousand traits of worth, 
persists in detecting in the pot of ointment a 


most egregious fly. Who will deny that the 
defect is there ? Sam Adams was too thorough 
a Yankee to be quite without it. We believe 
that he fell into it unconsciously. In the cases 
of sharp practice that can be brought home 
against him, it was, at any rate, never for him- 
self, but always for what he believed the public 
good ; for from first to last one can detect in 
him no thought of personal gain or fame. 

As Samuel Adams's followers often did not 
know that they were being led, so, possibly, he 
himself failed to see sometimes that he was 
leading, believing himself to be the mere agent 
of the will of the great people, which decided 
this way or that. Quite careless was he as re^ 
gards wealth, as regards his position before his 
contemporaries and in history. Time and again 
the credit for great measures which he orig- 
inated was given to men who were simply his 
agents, and there was never a remonstrance 
from him ; time and again the men whom he 
brought forward from obscurity, and whom he 
set here and there with scarcely more volition 
of their own than so many chess-men, stood in 
an eminence before the world which is not yet 
lost, obscuring the real master. Papers which 
would have established his title to a position 
among the greatest, he destroyed by his own 
hand, or left at hap-hazard. 



If we briefly sum up the services rendered 
during these twelve years, the particulars of 
which, as they have been detailed, have seemed 
involved and confusing, it is easy to see how 
the men of his own day came to set him by the 
side of Washington, and how writers of our 
time can declare him " second only to Wash- 
ington." l Those instructions to the Boston 
representatives in 1764, in which Samuel Ad- 
ams spoke for the town, emerging then, at the 
age of forty -two, into the public life where he 
remained to the end, contain the first sugges- 
tion ever made in America for a meeting of the 
colonies looking toward a resistance to British 
encroachments. From that paper came the 
" Stamp Act Congress." While the contem- 
poraries of Samuel Adams rejoiced over the re- 
peal of the Stamp Act, he saw in the declaration 
of Parliament by which it was accompanied, 
u that it was competent to legislate for the 
colonies in all cases whatsoever," plain evi- 
dence that more trouble was in store ; and he 
was the most influential among the few who 
strove to prevent a disastrous supineness among 

1 " A man whom Plutarch, if he had only lived late enough, 
would have delighted to include in his gallery of worthies, a 
man who in the history of the American Revolution is second 
only to Washington, Samuel Adams." JOHN FISKE (taken 
from his forthcoming History of the American People, by kind 
permission of the author). 


the people. From this time forward, in Massa- 
chusetts, the substantial authorship of almost 
every state paper of importance can be traced 
to him ; so, too, the initiation of almost every 
great measure. 

Nor was he the less a man of national im- 
portance from the circumstance that his activ- 
ity for the most part, up to this time, has been 
circumscribed by the limits of Massachusetts. 
As in Massachusetts the stirrings of freedom 
were most early and most earnestly felt, so for 
many years Massachusetts was a battle-ground 
in which arbitrary power and popular liberty 
were hotly contending, while the remaining 
Provinces had little to disturb their peace. 
" Boston is suffering in the common cause," 
became the cry of America, at the time of the 
Port Bill, in 1774. Massachusetts had been 
no less suffering in the common cause for a full 
decade before, the long parliamentary wrestle 
between her General Court and the royal gov- 
ernors having been waged for the benefit of 
the whole thirteen colonies no less than for 
herself. Elsewhere, no doubt, there was dis- 
turbance : in Virginia, in particular, the dis- 
cord was grave between the Burgesses and the 
royal representatives. Massachusetts, however, 
was far more than any other Province the field 
of strife, the critical point beyond all others 


being the Old State House in Boston, with 
Hutchinson or Bernard in one end, and the 
Assembly in the other. The great leader of 
the Massachusetts folk-motes mano3uvred and 
fought in a small space ; but what was done 
was done for an entire continent. It was 
no combat of mere local significance. Who 
can estimate the greatness of the interests in- 
volved ? 

From 1768, perhaps from an earlier period, 
he saw no satisfactory issue from the dispute 
but in the independence of America, and began 
to labor for it with all his energy. It had been 
a dream with many, indeed, that some time 
there was to be a great independent empire in 
this western world ; but no public man saw so 
soon as Samuel Adams, that in the latter half 
of the eighteenth century the time for it had 
come, and that to work for it was the duty of 
all patriots. 1 We have passed in review the 

1 July 1, 1774, Hutchinson, having just reached London, 
was hurried by Lord Dartmouth into the presence of the king, 
without being allowed time to change his clothes after the 
voyage. A conversation of two hours took place, the king 
showing the utmost eagerness to find out the truth as to Amer- 
ica. While answering the king's inquiries concerning the pop- 
ular leaders, Hutchinson remarked that Samuel Adams was 
regarded " as the opposer of Government and a sort of Wilkes 
in New England. 

" King : What gives him his importance ? 

" Hutchinson : A great pretended zeal for liberty and a most 


great figures of our Revolutionary epoch, one 
by one, and seen that neither then, seven years 
before the Declaration of Independence, nor 
long after, was there a man except Samuel Ad- 
ams who looked forward to it and worked for it. 
The people generally had not conceived of the 
attainment of independence as a present possi- 
bility. Those who came to think it possible, 
like Franklin, Dickinson of Pennsylvania, and 
James Otis, shrank from the idea as involving 
calamity, and only tried to secure a better reg- 
ulated dependence. As late as 1775, the idea of 
separation, according to Jefferson, had "never 
yet entered into any person's mind." l Tt was 
well known, however, what were the opinions of 
Samuel Adams. He was isolated even in the 
group that most closely surrounded him. Even 
so trusty a follower and attached a friend as 
Joseph Warren could not stand with him here. 
What Garrison was to the abolition of slavery, 
Samuel Adams was to independence, a man 
looked on with the greatest dread as an ex- 
tremist and fanatic by many of those who after- 
wards fought for freedom, down almost to that 

inflexible natural temper. He was the first that publicly as- 
serted the independency of the colonies upon the kingdom." 
Diary and Letters of Hutchinson, p. 167. 

Hutchinson had before declared the same thing in a letter 
to Dartmouth, already quoted. 

1 Cooke's Virginia, p. 375. 


very day, July 4, 1776, when, largely through 
his skilful and tireless management, independ- 
ence was brought to pass. 

We are accustomed to call Washington the 
" Father of his country." It would be useless, 
if one desired to do so, to dispute his right to 
the title. He and no other will bear it through 
the ages. He established our country's free- 
dom with the sword, then guided its course 
during the first critical years of its independent 
existence. No one can know the figure without 
feeling how real is its greatness. It is impossi- 
ble to see how, without Washington, the nation 
could have ever been. His name is and should 
be greatest. But after all is " Father of Amer- 
ica " the best title for Washington ? Where 
and what was Washington during those long 
preliminary years while the nation was taking 
form as the bones do grow in the womb of her 
that is with child ? A quiet planter, who in 
youth as a surveyor had come to know tlie 
woods ; who in his young manhood had led 
bodies of provincials with some efficiency in 
certain unsuccessful military expeditions ; who 
in maturity had sat, for the most part in silence, 
among his talking colleagues in the House of 
Burgesses, with scarcely a suggestion to make 
in all the sharp debate, while the new nation 
was shaping. There is another character in 


our history to whom was once given the title, 
"Father of America," a man to a large ex- 
tent forgotten, his reputation overlaid by that 
of those who followed him, no other than 
this man of the town-meeting, Samuel Adams. 
As far as the genesis of America is concerned, 
Samuel Adams can more properly be called the 
" Father of America " than Washington. 



BRITISH authority in America, so far at 
any rate as this could be done in the forum, 
was shattered by the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. The work was then transferred to the 
field. Samuel Adams's heroic time has come 
to an end ; his distinctive work is done ; if he 
had died at the Declaration, his fame would 
be as great as it is now ; what further he ac- 
complished, though often of value, an ordinary 
man might have performed. The events of his 
life may be given henceforth with little detail. 

So long as the war continued he remained in 
Congress, with the exception of one year, when 
infirmity, and the fact also that Massachusetts 
was in the act of adopting her state constitu- 
tion, in connection with which he rendered 
important service, kept him at home. Con- 
gress fell woefully in popular esteem, but the 
work and the responsibility remained vast for 
the few who were faithful. Samuel Adams 
has been accused of unfriendliness to Wash- 


ington, and of having been concerned in the 
Con way cabal. The papers are in perfect pres- 
ervation which put at rest this calumny, and 
enable us to understand precisely what feeling 
Samuel Adams did at this time entertain for 
Washington. It was neither strange nor at 
all discreditable at that period in the war to 
doubt whether Washington was the best man 
in the country for the head of the army. The 
supreme position in the hearts of Americans, 
which he came afterwards to hold, was at that 
time far enough from being achiexed. In the 
flood of disaster which had so often over- 
whelmed the American efforts, could any hu- 
man eye then see clearly what portion of re- 
sponsibility for it rested on the commander, 
what portion on his subordinates, and what 
was due to things in general? So far, the 
only brilliant achievements of Washington had 
been the victories at Trenton and Princeton, 
and that the credit for those successes belonged 
to him was less clear than it is now. The 
" Fabian policy," which he had to so large an 
extent pursued, and which the world now be- 
lieves to have been masterly, did not vindicate 
itself at once to the contemporaries of Washing- 
ton. To Samuel Adams, so straight and im- 
petuous, who from the beginning of his course 
had sought his object with the directness and 


force of a cannon-ball, and who felt that a, fair 
exertion of the military strength of America 
ought to burst to pieces the British opposition, 
Washington, not unnaturally, seemed unener- 

But though Samuel Adams might be secretly 
impatient, and might give his impatience ex- 
pression in directions where he thought good 
might result, he had no desire but to sustain 
the leader in all efficient work. He had even 
been willing to mnke him dictator. His own 
declarations, repeatedly uttered under circum- 
stances which must cause them to seem true to 
the most suspicious, make it clear that lie was 
never Washington's enemy, and never plotted 
for his removal. A word must be said about 
the origin of this calumny, which troubled 
Adams in his lifetime, and followed him after 
his death. We have already seen Samuel Ad- 
ams the object of the enmity of John Han- 
cock, in the old days of the struggle with 
Hutchinson. Now, again, Hancock's worse 
nature has the upper hand, and gives disgrace- 
ful evidence of itself. His disposition to asso- 
ciate with the aristocratic, temporizing element, 
his obstructive course when the Declaration of 
Independence was pending, the absurd pomp 
which he persisted in maintaining as President 
of Congress, even when the nation seemed at 


the last gasp, offended much his austere and 
simple-minded colleague. Undoubtedly these 
things had provoked from Adams severe re- 
mark. This sharp criticism, combined with 
the fact that the Tories, and indeed others, 
habitually spoke of Hancock in a way quite ex- 
asperating to one so vain, as the " ape " or 
" dupe " of Samuel Adams, gives abundant ex- 
planation why an estrangement should have 
come about. Hancock pursued his former friend 
with great malignity. He circulated, if lie did 
not originate, the slander that Samuel Adams 
was the enemy of Washington ; and in other 
ways used his high prestige to spread false 
ideas as to his colleague's opinions and aims. 
Said Mr. Adams: 

" The Arts they make use of are contemptible. 
Last year, as you observe, I was an Enemy to General 
Washington. This was said to render me odious to 
the People. The Man who fabricated that Charge 
did not believe it himself." l 

In July, 1778, the British fleet left the Dela- 
ware in haste, fearing to be blocked up by the 
superior force of d'Estaing, about to arrive, 
and immediately Clinton, abandoning Phila- 
delphia, retreated through New Jersey, fighting 

1 In the Adams papers are several letters of interest as 
bearing upon this point. One written to General Greene has 
an especial value, 


on the way the battle of Monmouth, where vic- 
tory was so balked for the Americans by the 
misconduct of Charles Lee. Immediately after- 
ward the French admiral, with twelve sail of 
the line, four frigates, and four thousand troops, 
sailed into the Delaware, bringing M. Ge'rard, 
the ambassador, for whom Congress, at once re- 
turning to Philadelphia, prepared a great recep- 
tion. The ceremonies took place on August 5, 
and were more elaborate than had ever before 
been witnessed in America. Somewhat ludi- 
crously, in this pompous pageant Samuel Ad- 
ams, associated with his old friend Richard 
Henry Lee, appears as master of ceremonies, 
leading off in the bowings and parade by which 
the man of Versailles was to be made to feel 
that he had not fallen among the Goths. But 
more than once before this we have seen that 
Samuel Adams could pocket his preferences to 
serve an occasion. 

The French alliance came near going to ship- 
wreck at the outset. Great was the mortifica- 
tion, great the wrath at the French, to whose 
desertion, as it was called, the failure in Rhode 
Island was attributed. A serious riot between 
American and French sailors occurred in Bos- 
ton, in which all the old animosity of the French 
war, which for the time had slumbered, seemed 
on the point of reappearing. Washington and 


Congress took all means possible to restore a 
cordial understanding, in which efforts Samuel 
Adams bore a great part. Here it was, too, 
that Hancock rendered one of his greatest ser- 
vices, his very vanity and profuseness, for once, 
helping to an excellent result. He threw his 
house open to d'Estaing and his officers, enter- 
taining them magnificently. Thirty or forty 
dined with him each day, whom he dazzled with 
his liveries and plate. At Concert Hall, too, he 
gave them a great ball, and stimulated other 
Whigs to similar hospitalities. The entente cor- 
diale, which the Newport storm had disturbed, 
grew firm again amid the steam of punch and 
the airs of the Boston fiddlers. 

Adams opposed, in 1780, Washington's plan 
for giving to officers serving through the war 
half pay for life. To this period, too, belongs 
one of the greatest mistakes of his career, 
which must be referred to what may be called 
his town-meeting ideas. He showed his dislike 
to the delegation of power to such an extent 
as to oppose the establishment of departments 
presided over by secretaries, preferring as the 
executive machinery of Congress the form of 
committees, which had prevailed from the first, 
and had often proved inconvenient. There was 
probably a degree of justice in the criticism of 
Luzerne, the French minister : 


" Divisions prevail in Congress about the new mode 
of transacting business by secretaries of different de- 
partments. Samuel Adams, whose obstinate, resolute 
character was so useful to the Revolution at its origin, 
but who shows himself so ill suited to the conduct of 
affairs in an organized government, has placed himself 
at the head of the advocates of the old system of 
committees of Congress, instead of relying on minis- 
ters or secretaries under the new arrangement" 

He opposed the establishment of a Foreign 
Office ; so, too, of a War Department, for the 
secretaryship of which the name of General 
Sullivan had been mentioned. He opposed, 
with equal decision, the appointment of a 
secretary of finance, which position, however, 
was created and bestowed upon Robert Morris, 
with results most important and beneficent. 
For the moment he consented to the dictator- 
ship of Washington, but generally he looked 
askance at all approaches to the "one man 
power," standing ready to sacrifice efficiency 
even in desperate circumstances, rather than 
contravene the principle that authority should 
rest, as immediately as possible, in the hands 
of the plain people. 

On February 24, 1781, at length, four years 
and a half after the scheme had been initiated, 
the Articles of Confederation were ratified, and 
the affixing of bis signature to these was the 


last act of Samuel Adams in Congress. The 
committee appointed to draw up the Articles 
of Confederation, created at the same time with 
the committee to draw up the Declaration of 
Independence, had found their work one of the 
greatest difficulty. Samuel Adams, it will be 
remembered, represented Massachusetts on the 
former committee, while John Adams served 
upon the latter. The embarrassing labor had 
gone forward whenever, from time to time, a 
moment could be snatched from the ever press- 
ing conduct of the war. It seemed scarcely 
possible to frame a practicable scheme. The 
several States, having declared themselves free 
from the authority of England, exulted in their 
independence, and regarded with great jeal- 
ousy any scheme by which their liberty might 
be curtailed. Some bond must of necessity be 
devised, which would enable them to present 
front to the danger which threatened all alike. 
But the smaller States feared to be swallowed 
up by the larger, and the larger sometimes 
felt it to be beneath their dignity to stand on 
an equal footing with the smaller. There uas 
as yet no common sentiment of nationality. 
Constitution framers never had a harder task. 
There was little enough precedent for a great 
federal league. The architects were inexpe- 
rienced, those for whom they worked were 


most suspicious, the dangers and distractions, 
in the midst of which they must deliberate, 
were quite overwhelming. The Constitution 
of 1787 we feel to be vastly better, but the 
Confederation that preceded it is, of course, 
not to be despised. The Constitution was the 
child of the Confederation, its existence not 
possible without its parent. The Confederation 
was tentative, temporary, and no doubt as close 
and effective as it was possible, under the 
circumstances, to make it. The intermittent 
debates had tediously proceeded while often 
cannon thundered north and south, and the Con- 
gress, scarcely less than the commanders, were 
forced to live in the saddle. One by one the 
greater leaders of 1774, 1775, and 1776 had re- 
tired, yielding place often to inferior men, while 
they themselves served sometimes in the field, 
sometimes in their home legislatures, some- 
times remained idle on their farms. At length, 
of all those who took part in sketching the 
original plan, Samuel Adams was left alone. 

The adoption of the Articles of Confedera- 
tion, so far from increasing, rather limited the 
powers of Congress. Sessions were to be an- 
nual, to commence on the first Monday in 
November ; the delegates were to be appointed 
for a year, but were liable at any time to be 
recalled by the States that had sent them. To 


all important points nine States must consent, 
whereas before a mere majoiity had been de- 
cisive. No State could vote unless represented 
by at least two delegates. As regards peace, 
war, and foreign intercourse, Congress pos- 
sessed most of the powers now exercised by 
the federal government ; but it had no means 
of raising a revenue independent of State ac- 
tion, except the resources, already exhausted 
and fallen into disrepute, of paper issues and 
loans. Congress could make requisitions on 
the States, but had no power to enforce them ; 
the oftener they were made the less they were 

It is worth while to look somewhat particu- 
larly at the Articles of Confederation, because 
in the framing of them Samuel Adams was so 
largely concerned, and because, too, as will be 
seen, they appeared to him, for the most part, 
quite satisfactory as a bond of union between 
the States. He reluctantly gave them up after- 
wards for the Constitution, even after their 
weakness had become very plain, dreading of 
all things a disposition to centralize. In the 
States the legislatures should be held in strict 
subordination to the town-meetings ; and, again, 
in the federation, there should be no compro- 
mise of the independence of the States. In 
April Samuel Adams took leave of Congress 



for Massachusetts, from whose soil he never 
afterwards departed. 

The following correspondence can be appro- 
priately introduced here, as showing what men 
in these times were after Samuel Adams's own 
heart : 


WEST POINT, Dec. 10th, 1781. 

Maj. Gibbs of your line is the bearer of this, by 
whom I have sent you a plate, a specimen of the 
material which covers my board. It is made, as the 
set is, of old unserviceable camp-kettles. 


May \3th, 1782. 

The present you sent me by Maj. Gibbs gratified 
me exceedingly. I intend to transmit it to my pos- 
terity as a specimen of Spartan frugality in an 
American general officer. The citizen and the soldier 
are called to the exercise of self-denial and patience, 
and to make the utmost exertions in support of the 
great cause we are engaged in. 

S. A. 

Always, when at home from Congress, as 
the town records of Boston show, he had been 
at the town-meetings, serving as moderator, on 
committees of correspondence, safety, and in- 
spection, committees for obtaining orators for 
the celebration of the anniversary of the Mas- 


sacre, for the reformation of the manners of 
the town, for the instruction of representatives 
to address Lafayette, to take care of schools, etc., 
etc. 1 So it is that this Antaeus of democracy 
touches, as he can, his mother earth, to draw in 
strength for the battle he is waging. Now that 
he is at home again permanently, he seems to 
be constantly present at the town-meetings, act- 
ing as moderator whenever he is willing to serve 
as such, and intrusted with business great and 
small. Once more, too, the old man found him- 
self under the roof of the Old State House, 
which had seen so many of his early battles 
and triumphs, for he was straightway elected 
to the Senate of the State, and became at once 
its presiding officer. As such he sat in that 
famous chamber to the east, where Jarnes Otis 
had denounced the writs of assistance, and 
where he himself had confronted Hutclrinson 
in the stormy day of the Massacre. 

One last scene of military pomp signalized 
the close of the war. In the late fall of 1782 
the French army, which had fought well in the 
field, and gained honor among the people, hold- 
ing aloof from marauding and deeds of license, 
a fact which put it often in favorable con- 
trast even with the American levies, marched 
from the Hudson to Boston, to embark for the 

1 Town records of Boston from 1775 to 1781. 


West Indies. In uniforms of white and violet, 
with the fleur-de-lis waving over their ranks, in 
gaiters, queues, and great cocked hats, such as 
had figured at Fontenoy and in the wars of 
Frederick, the long column worked its way 
through the interior villages to the seaboard. 
The Baron Viomenil, who had done brilliantly 
at Yorktown, was their commander. Boston 
town-meeting did all honor to their guests, for 
the Frenchmen remained some days while the 
transports were preparing. Samuel Adams was^ 
the prominent figure in the demonstrations. 

Efforts having been made to restore the 
refugee Tories to their original rights, Adams, 
appointed by the town of Boston, instructed 
the Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, 
and Safety, in terms which show that his im- 
placability was undiminished. The committee 
are directed to oppose u to the utmost of their 
power every enemy to the just rights and liber- 
ties of mankind ; after so wicked a conspiracy 
against these rights and liberties by certain 
ingrates, most of them natives of these States, 
and who have been refugees and declared trai- 
tors to their country, it is the opinion of this 
town that they ought never to be suffered to 
return, but excluded from having lot or place 
among us." However harsh this expression 
may appear, no fair student of the history of 


those days will deny the reasonableness of the 
judgment. There was every motive for pru- 
dence as to the admission of British emissa- 
ries and men of Tory sentiments. Whatever 
their professions, they could scarcely fail to 
treat with contempt the new order of things, 
and try secretly to undermine it. Efforts were 
made in 1784 and 1785 to exchange the Boston 
town-meeting for a city organization, which, 
it was felt, would be much more convenient for 
managing the affairs of so large a population. 
The people, however, could not bring them- 
selves to give up the venerable system which 
had accomplished such memorable results. 
Samuel Adams took a leading part in the dis- 
cussions, and was chairman of the important 
committee to whom was left the duty of stat- 
ing the " defects of the town constitution." 
In this capacity he reported to the town that 
" there were no defects," l and in his time there 
was no change. 

In 1786 came the formidable popular out- 
break known as Shays's Rebellion. The weight 
of federal and state taxes, combined with the 
pressure of a vast private indebtedness, well- 
nigh crushed the people. Circumstances made 
proper the most rigid economy, but the vicious 
spirit of extravagance prevailed. The courts, 

1 Town records, November 9, 1785. 


wliose agency had been invoked for tlie collec- 
tion of the debts, were declared in the western 
counties to be engines of destruction. Other 
grievances, sometimes partly reasonable, some- 
times absurd, were the cost of litigation, the 
inordinate salaries of many public officers, and 
the existence of the Senate in the state con- 
stitution, which was condemned as needless and 
aristocratic. At conventions of the people, 
sometimes imposing through numbers, dema- 
gogues dwelt in exaggerated terms upon these 
topics, and, in no secret way, violence was 
counseled against the laws of the land. The 
means employed, indeed, were the same used 
against British authority, which had resulted in 
the Revolution. Those precedents, in that time 
recent, were in the minds of the agitators ; and 
it could be plausibly urged that the men now 
in authority under the new order could not 
consistently find fault with this application of 
their own machinery, which the people were 
setting at work once more to right great wrongs 
by which they felt themselves oppressed. Sam- 
uel Adams and those who believed with him 
certainly had reason to be much embarrassed 
by the situation. There is nevertheless no evi- 
dence that the old democrat hesitated for a 
moment as to his course. While the public 
suffering could not be doubted, it was the re- 


suit of a terrible war and could not be helped. 
Whatever injustice existed could be reached 
and remedied by constitutional means, without 
an overturn, a thing which could riot at all 
be said of the old oppressions. He wrote to 
John Adams : 

"Now that we have regular and constitutional 
governments, popular committees and county conven- 
tions are not only useless but dangerous. They 
served an excellent purpose, and were highly neces- 
sary when they were set up, arid I shall not repent 
the small share I then took in them." 

As the danger thickened, Samuel Adams 
was one of those who declared for the sternest 
measures, to maintain the constitution and the 
laws. Once more at the head of Boston town- 
meeting, which he guided as moderator, and 
whose spokesman he, as usual, became, as first 
on the committee appointed to draft an ad- 
dress, he strengthened the hands of hi^ old 
fellow- fighter, the fearless, energetic Bowdoin, 
then governor, who was ready to do his full 
duty. The entire state militia was called out, 
and was well commanded, for fortunately the 
veteran officers of the Revolution stood stoutly 
on the side of law and order. 

The gossiping William Sullivan gives a good 
picture of the noble Bowdoin, standing on the 


steps of the court-house at Cambridge while 
the troops of General John Brooks pass by in 
review. He was fifty-eight years old, tall and 
dignified, dressed in a gray wig, cocked hat, 
white broadcloth coat and waistcoat, red small> 
clothes, and black silk stockings. His air and 
manner were quietly grave, his features rather 
small for a man of his size, his colorless face 
giving evidence of the delicate health which 
no doubt had prevented him from taking a 
stand among the first of the patriots. Blood 
was shed at Springfield, and at length in mid- 
winter came the famous march of General Lin- 
coln to Petersham, thirty miles in one night 
through a driving snow-storm, which scattered 
the main power of the insurgents, and ended 
the danger. 

The attitude in which Samuel Adams stood 
to the Federal constitution was much misrep- 
resented during his lifetime, and a misunder- 
standing as regards it has clouded his fame to 
the present day. He disliked to confer great 
powers, as we have repeatedly seen, on a body 
far removed from its constituents. According 
to his town-meeting ideas there should always 
be as few removes as possible of the power 
from the people. In 1785 Samuel Adams writes 
to Elbridge Gerry, advising against " a general 


revision of the confederation," which seems to 
him dangerous and unnecessary, and he appears 
to strike hands with Gerry and his colleague 
King, the representatives from Massachusetts, 
to embarrass those who favor a stronger cen- 
tral government. 1 At the same time, however, 
he declares : " It would have been better to 
have fallen in the struggle than now to become 
a contemptible nation," and he seems to be per- 
suaded that there must be in some way a strong, 
effective union. His declarations are perhaps 
not altogether consistent, and imply some un- 

At the beginning of the convention assem- 
bled in Massachusetts for the ratification or 
rejection of the constitution, Samuel Adams 
underwent a severe affliction in the death of 
his son, who, with his constitution broken by 
the hardships of a surgeon's life during the 
war, died at thirty-seven. For two weeks de- 
bates went forward without result, Mr. Adams 
sitting silent, though it should be mentioned 
that at the beginning, no doubt with the idea 
of securing harmony, he made a motion quite 
similar to that which preceded the delibera- 
tions at Philadelphia in 1774, and which was 
regarded as such a master-stroke. It was that 
the ministers of the town in turn, without re- 

1 Bancroft, Hist, of Constit. I 199. 


gard to sect, should be invited to open the 
meetings with prayer. 

An effort was made to bring the convention 
to an abandonment of the consideration of the 
instrument by paragraphs, and induce it to vote 
upon the document as a whole, which without 
doubt would have resulted in its rejection. 
This Samuel Adams opposed in a speech still 
extant. He declared that he had difficulties 
and doubts as regards the proposed constitu- 
tion, as had others, and he desired to have a 
full investigation instead of deciding the mat- 
ter in a hurry. This prevailed, and in the 
course of the following week the shrewd man- 
agers who favored the acceptance of the form 
submitted devised a way to secure victory. 
Nine amendments were prepared, famous as 
the " conciliatory propositions," the story of 
which is told as follows by Colonel Joseph 
May: 1 

" Adams and Hancock [then governor] were both 
members of the convention in Massachusetts, and the 
two most powerful men in the State. Adams ques- 
tioned the policy of the adoption without amend- 
ments, and let men know his reasons ; but Hancock 
was in great trouble, and, as usual on such occasions, 
he had, or affected to have, the gout, and remained at 
home, wrapped up in flannel. The friends of the con- 
1 Wells, iii. 258. 


stitution gathered about him, flattered his vanity, told 
him the salvation of the nation rested with him : if 
the constitution was not accepted, we should be a 
ruined nation ; if he said accept it, Massachusetts and 
the nation would obey. They persuaded him to that 
opinion. It was reported abroad that he had made 
up his mind, and had recovered from his illness so far 
that, on a certain day, he would appear again in the 
convention, and would make a speech which would 
probably be ill favor of adopting the constitution. 
Theophilus Parsons, afterwards the famous judge, was 
the most active in procuring this result. He wrote a 
speech for Hancock to read in the convention. 

" So when the day arrived, Mr. Hancock was 
helped out of his house into his coach, and driven 
down to the place where the con\ 7 ention was held, 
Federal Street, and thence carried into the conven- 
tion by several young gentlemen, who were friends 
of the family and in the secret. He rose in his place 
and apologized for his absence, for his feebleness, and 
declared that nothing but the greatness of the emer- 
gency would have brought him from his bed of sick- 
ness ; but duty to his country prevailed over consider- 
ations of health. He hoped they would pardon him 
for reading a speech which he had carefully prepared, 
not being well enough to make it in any other man- 
ner. Then he read the speech which Parsons had 
written for him, and from Parsons's manuscript, and 
sat down. One of his friends took the manuscript 
hastily from him, afraid that the looker-on might see 
that it was not in Hancock's hand, but Parsons's." 


Colonel May next relates the course adopted 
to secure the cooperation of Adams : 

" The same means were undertaken to influence 
Mr. Adams. It was not, however, so easy. They 
had done what they could with experiment : flattery 
would have no effect upon him ; but they knew two 
things, first, that he had great confidence in the 
democratic instincts of the people ; and second, that 
he was a modest man, and sometimes doubted his own 
judgment when it differed from the democratic in- 
stincts aforesaid. So they induced some of the lead- 
ing mechanics of Boston to hold a meeting at the 
' Green Dragon Inn ' in Union Street, their private 
gathering-place, and pass resolutions in favor of the 
constitution, and send a committee to present them 
to him. He was surprised at the news of the meet- 
ing, and the nature of the resolutions, and asked who 
was there. They were just the men, or the class of 
men, whom he confided in. He inquired why they 
had not called him to attend the meeting. * Oh, we 
wanted the voice of the people,' was the answer. 
Mr. Adams was still more surprised, and, after long 
consideration, concluded to accept the constitution 
with the amendments." 

Daniel Webster gave in 1833 a graphic ac- 
count of the same incident, in which Paul Re- 
vere, whose attributes, as he goes on in life, 
become rather those of Vulcan than Mercury, 
is made to play the leading part : 

" He received the resolutions from the hands of 


Paul Revere, a brass-founder by occupation, a man of 
sense and character and of high public spirit, whom 
the mechanics of Boston ought never to forget. 
' How many mechanics,' said Mr. Adams, ' were at 
the Green Dragon when the resolutions were passed ? ' 
* More, sir/ was the reply, ' than the Green Dragon 
could hold.' 'And where were the rest, Mr. Re- 
vere ? ' 'In the streets, sir.' * And how many were 
in the streets ? ' ' More, sir, than there are stars in 
the sky.' " 

In the " conciliatory propositions " all pow- 
ers not expressly delegated to Congress were 
reserved to the several States ; the basis of rep- 
resentation was altered ; the powers of taxation 
und the granting of commercial monopolies by 
Congress were restricted; grand jury indict- 
ments in capital trials were provided for ; the 
jurisdiction of federal courts in cases between 
the citizens of different states was limited, and 
the right of trial by jury was given in such 
cases. Upon the introduction of these amend- 
ments, Mr. Adams urged the ratification of the 
constitution, upon the understanding that they 
were to be recommended. Still another speech 
followed, in which he became a strong advocate 
of the instrument, and dwelt upon the amend- 
ments one by one ; and it is a curious feature 
of the speech that, though he well knew where 
the amendments really came from, yet with 


some of his old-time cunning his evident desire 
is to encourage the general impression that 
Hancock originated them. It was a matter of 
great importance that the popular governor 
should be supposed to have presented his own 
views ; and the admiring Mr. Wells, uncon- 
scious, as we have found him before, of any de- 
vious trickery, takes pains to show how Adams 
strove hard to produce in his hearers a false 
impression. It is not edifying, but it is cer- 
tainly droll, to see how the young foxes suc- 
cessfully manage to outwit the old fox, who 
then, all unconscious that he has himself been 
a victim, goes on with his wily expedient to 
inveigle the convention into doing right. 

The debate proceeded, the eloquence of 
Fisher Ames making a powerful impression in 
favor of the constitution. Massachusetts had 
instructed her delegates to insist on an annual 
election of congressmen; Samuel Adams, al- 
ways believing that power delegated should 
return as soon as possible to the people, from 
whom alone it could come, and willing, no doubt, 
to subscribe to Jefferson's phrase : " Where 
annual election ends, tyranny begins," asked 
why congressmen were to be chosen for two 
years. Caleb Strong explained that it was a 
necessary compromise, at which Adams an- 
swered, "I am satisfied." The concession 


seemed so important to the convention that 
he was asked to repeat it, which he did. 
At length he suggested certain other amend- 
ments. These were rejected by the conven- 
tion, though afterward accepted by the nation. 
They now form the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th arti- 
cles in amendment ; the clauses of the concilia- 
tory propositions were also in part adopted as 

We need not follow more particularly the 
episodes of the convention, which at last ratified 
the constitution by a narrow majority, the vote 
standing one hundred and eighty-seven to one 
hundred and sixty-eight. Probably there were 
few men in the convention, as there were few 
in the country, who did not feel that there were 
defects in the form proposed. The only real 
difference apparently between Samuel Adams 
and those who were held to be special advo- 
cates of the constitution was, that while all felt 
there were defects, the latter wished to accept 
the instrument at once and unconditionally, and 
to run the risk of future amendments ; whereas 
Mr. Adams felt that the ratification should be 
accompanied by a recommendation of amend- 
ments. The first conciliatory proposition in 
particular, expressly reserving to the States the 
rights not delegated to the federal government, 
Adams regarded as "a summary of a bill of 


rights," and therefore of great importance. Jef- 
ferson also declared that the proposition sup- 
plied the vital omission of a bill of rights, which 
was what "the people were entitled to against 
every government on earth, general or particu- 
lar, and what no just government should refuse 
or rest on inference." Bancroft is careful to 
point out that Adams by no means makes the 
acceptance of the amendments a condition of 
ratification, but would have them simply recom- 
mended at the same time with the ratification. 

Letters of Mr. Adams soon after this express 
very earnestly his desire to have the amend- 
ments adopted. He wished "to see a line 
drawn as clearly as may be between the federal 
powers vested in Congress and the distinct sov- 
ereignty of the several States, upon which the 
private and personal rights of the citizens de- 
pend." His fear was lest " the constitution, in 
the administration of it, would gradually, but 
swiftly and imperceptibly, run into a consoli- 
dated government, pervading and legislating 
through all the States ; not for federal purposes 
only, as it professes, but in all cases whatso- 
ever. . . . Should a strong Federalist see what 
has now dropped from my pen, he would say 
that I am an 'Anti-Fed,' an amendment mon- 
ger, etc." 1 Mr. Bancroft sums up well Samuel 
i To R. H. Lee, July 14, 1789, from the autograph. 


Adams's position when he speaks of " the error 
that many have made in saying that he was at 
first opposed to the constitution. He never was 
opposed to the constitution ; he only waited to 
make up his mind." l His contemporaries in- 
deed declared that his influence saved the 
constitution in Massachusetts. His position is 
quite different from that not only of Patrick 
Henry, but also from that of R. H. Lee and 
Elbridge Gerry, who opposed with all their 

As the year 1788 drew to a close, the Federal 
constitution being now in force, though two 
States still withheld their assent, an effort was 
made to send Samuel Adams again to Congress. 
In the newspapers of the time the most earnest 
tributes are paid to him. He is set side by 
side with Washington. Says the " Independent 
Chronicle " of December, 1788 : " While we 
are careful to introduce to our Federal legisla- 
ture the American Fabius, let ITS not be un- 
mindful of the American Cato." " America," 
says another, " in her darkest periods ever found 
him forward and near the helm, and for her 
sake he with cheerfulness seven years served 
her with a halter round his neck. Naked he 
went into her employ, and naked he came out 

1 From a private letter to the writer. 


of it." Says another : " It has been said, he is 
old and anti-federal. His age and experience 
are the very qualifications you want. His in- 
fluence caused the constitution to be adopted in 
this State." 

Mr. Adams, however, lost the election, which 
was won by Fisher Ames, a young lawyer of 
thirty-one, who by his eloquence in the consti- 
tutional convention had raised to the highest 
a reputation, before becoming brilliant. The 
virulence of party spirit was excessive. To 
have advocated amendments to the consti- 
tution, however reasonable and proper, was 
enough to condemn the most respected man, as 
far as the Federalists were concerned. There 
was danger even from other weapons than 
sharp tongues and pens. A note is still pre- 
served, written rudely on coarse paper, with 
the words blurred by the moisture of the wet 
grass of Samuel Adams's garden, into which 
it had been thrown, in which he is warned 
against assassination. Tn April following, how- 
ever, Adams became lieutenant-governor, Han- 
cock being governor. He had already been 
in Hancock's Council, and the reconciliation 
had now become cordial. Adams, indeed, had 
always been magnanimous. In Hancock's case, 
the lapse of years and increasing infirmities 
mitigated animosities, and gave opportunity to 


the better nature which he certainly had. 
Their supporters, rejoicing to see the old pa- 
triots once more friends and again in the fore- 
ground together, printed the ticket in letters 
of gold. 

The following year the venerable pair were 
again chosen, and in a speech to the legislature, 
made by Adams upon entering on his second 
term of office, one finds expressions so cool 
and wise concerning the great constitutional 
question, that it is hard to see how even the 
smoke of partisan battle could have blinded 
men to their justice : 

" I shall presently be called uppn by you, sir, as it 
is enjoined by the constitution, to make a declara- 
tion upon oath, (and shall do it with cheerfulness, be- 
cause the injunction accords with my own judgment 
and conscience,) that the commonwealth of Massachu- 
setts is, and of right ought to be, a free, sovereign, and 
independent State. I shall also be called upon to make 
another declaration, with the same solemnity, to sup- 
port the constitution of the United States. I see the 
consistency of this, for it cannot have been intended 
but that these constitutions should mutually aid and 
support each other. It is my humble opinion that, 
while the commonwealth of Massachusetts maintains 
her own just authority, weight, and dignity, she will 
be among the firmest pillars of the federal Union. 

"May the administration of the federal govern- 
ment, and those of the several States in the Union, 


be guided by the unerring finger of heaven ! Each 
of them and all of them united will then, if the peo- 
ple are wise, be as prosperous as the wisdom of hu- 
man institu lions and the circumstances of human 
society will admit." 

A conflict which seems to have aroused the 
old energy of Adams more than any other that 
occurred during his declining years was that as 
to whether theatrical representations should be 
allowed in Boston. In 1790 the legislature was 
petitioned for authority to open a theatre in 
Boston, which was promptly refused. In the 
following year a town-meeting instructed the 
representatives to obtain, if possible, a repeal 
of the prohibitory act. It was carried, over 
the protest of Samuel Adams and the old-fash- 
ioned citizens. When Harrison Gray Otis 
made a vigorous demonstration on the same 
side, Samuel Adams " thanked God that there 
was one young man willing to step forth in the 
good old cause of morality and religion." He 
himself fought the Philistines on the floor of 
Faneuil Hall until his weak voice was drowned 
in roars of disapproval. The prohibitory act 
was not repealed, but a theatre was opened in 
spite of it, upon which Hancock vindicated the 
law by causing the whole company to be ar- 
rested on the stage. A new application from 
the town for a repeal of the act brought the 


legislature to compliance. Samuel Adams had 
now become governor, for we are anticipating 
somewhat. His theory was that the governor 
was simply an executive officer, whose only 
proper function was to carry out the popular 
will as expressed in the legislative enactments. 
He says in one of his inaugurals : " It is yours, 
fellow-citizens, to legislate, and mine only to 
revise your bills under limited and qualified 
powers ; and I rejoice that they are thus lim- 
ited. These are features which belong to a 
free government alone." But desperate circum- 
stances demanded desperate expedients. His 
dear Boston, so far from becoming the u Chris- 
tian Sparta " of his dreams, was fast going to 
the dogs of depravity. Under the circumstances 
consistency was a jewel not at all too precious 
to be sacrificed. He set himself stubbornly 
against the popular will and vetoed the repeal. 
So long as he sat in the chair of the chief mag- 
istrate the prohibitory law remained on the 
statute books, though the scandalous play-ac- 
tors dodged through their performances after 
a fashion in spite of the constables, to the 
delight of the graceless generation which had 
come into the places of the fathers. 

Though his natural force was suffering some 
abatement, Adams could yet defend with power 
still great the old, oft-threatened positions, in 


front of which, all his life, he had fought so 
faithful a battle. John Adams returned from 
Europe in 1788, after an absence of nine years. 
In the earlier time the kinsmen had been of one 
mind, but the younger had imbibed aristocratic 
notions during his life in courts, which divided 
him from his friend. A correspondence be- 
tween John Adams, then vice-president of the 
United States, and Samuel Adams, then lieu- 
tenant-governor of Massachusetts, which, al- 
though courteous, illustrates the difference of 
their ideas, was a notable controversy of the 
time. Of the democratic ideas Jefferson be- 
came the leading exponent. Although at pres- 
ent not dominant, these were soon to become 
the prevailing ideas of America. Of the hold- 
ers of these, "Republicans," as they were at 
first called, Samuel Adams was recognized as 
the head in Massachusetts. 

With the approach of the fall in 1793, Han- 
cock's infirmities perceptibly increased, and his 
end was plainly near. The two men had come 
to stand once more ha,nd in hand, as in the 
bygone days, when Gage had outlawed them 
together, and they had fled before the regulars 
with the volleys of Lexington filling the April 
morning. What though Hancock had trimmed 
and played the fool ? Again and again he had 
risked wealth and life, as he stood chivalrously 


in the thick of peril. What though he had in- 
sulted and calumniated his old associate ? His 
heart had turned tenderly to him once more in 
old age, and Samuel Adams, as tenderly, held 
him once more in a brotherly clasp. Here is 
his last letter to Hancock : l 

BOSTON, Sept. 3d, 1793. 

MY VERY DEAR SIR, I received your letter on 
Saturday evening last. It cheered the spirit and 
caused the blood to thrill through the veins of an 
old man. 1 was sorry for the injunction you laid me 
under. I hope you will relax it, and give me leave 
to keep it. I shall then read it often, and when I 
leave it, it will be read to your honor after you and I 
shall be laid in the dust. I am rejoiced to discover 
by it that your mind is firm and your speech good. 
Shall I venture to conjure you, as your friend, strictly 
to comply with the advice of your physicians ? I 
have seen Drs. Jarvis and Warren ; they tell me that 
they were all united in opinion, and say that they are 
in hopes, under Providence, to bring you to such a 
state of health as to enable you to perform the duties 
of a station with which the people have honored you, 
which I pray God you may continue in many years 
after I am no more here. Mrs. Adams joins me in 
best regards to you and Madam. 

Your sincere friend, 

1 From the autograph. 


Hancock died at last on the 8th of October. 
Pie was honored with a most solemn funeral, 
and Samuel Adams followed the coffin as chief 
mourner. The strength of the septuagenarian 
failed to sustain him under the emotions that 
overwhelmed him. He withdrew from his place 
as the train wound past the Old State House, 
and it went on to the Granary Burying Ground 
without the man of the gray head and the 
trembling hands, who through Hancock's death 
had become chief magistrate of Massachusetts. 

On January 17, 1794, Samuel Adams de- 
livered his first speech, as governor, to the 
Senate and House. He thought it worth while 
to recapitulate to some extent the ultimate 
grounds of freedom which he had so often as- 
serted, and it was perhaps well, in the wide- 
spread doubt that had come to exist as to the 
expediency of trusting government to the hands 
of the people. 

In 1794, 1795, and 1796 Mr. Adams was 
elected governor by heavy majorities, although 
the Federalists made efforts to defeat him. In 
his addresses to the two houses he occupied 
the reasonable mean between the extreme Fed- 
eralists and the extreme Republicans, insisting 
upon the necessity of a just concession of power 
to the Union, while urging at the same time 
a maintenance of the rights of ^ the States. He 


approved thoroughly the policy of Washington 
as regards European entanglements, acknowl- 
edging the wisdom of his proclamation of neu- 
trality, issued soon after the arrival of Citizen 

The Jay treaty of 1796, warmly favored by 
Hamilton and Fisher Ames, Adams opposed, in 
company with Madison, Gallatin, and Brock- 
hoist Livingston, and made no effort to stop 
the expressions of popular disapproval which, 
in Boston, became riotous. His position drew 
down upon him unmeasured wrath from the 
Federalists, though few at the present time 
will maintain that the provisions of that treaty 
were wise. 

As the year 1797 opened, Samuel Adams, 
now seventy-five, gave notice, in a speech to the 
legislature, of his retirement from public life. 
That he had honor in this hour elsewhere than 
at home had been shown in the presidential 
election which had just taken place, when, in 
the electoral college, Virginia had thrown for 
Thomas Jefferson twenty votes, and for Samuel 
Adams fifteen. Both houses of the Massachu- 
setts General Court addressed him in terms of 
great respect, and in May the toil-worn servant 
of the people laid down his responsibilities. 

His appearance in age is thus described by 


" He always walked with his family to and from 
church, until his failing strength prevented. His 
stature was a little above the medium height. He wore 
a tie-wig, cocked hat, buckled shoes, knee-breeches, 
and a red cloak, and held himself very erect, with the 
ease and address of a polite gentleman. On stopping 
to speak with any person in the street his salutation 
was formal yet cordial. His gestures were animated, 
and in conversation there was a slight tremulous mo- 
tion of the head. He never wore glasses in public, 
except when engaged in his official duties at the State 
House. His complexion was florid and his eyes dark 
blue. The eyebrows were heavy, almost to bushiness, 
and contrasted remarkably with the clear forehead, 
which, at the age of seventy, had but few wrinkles. 
The face had a benignant, but careworn expression, 
blended with a native dignity (some have said maj- 
esty) of countenance, which never failed to impress 

Henceforth he lived in his house in Winter 
Street (the Purchase Street home he had been 
forced to resign), his wife at his side, cared 
for by his daughter and her children. In cap 
and gown he walked in his garden or sat in the 
door- way. As age grew upon him his nearer 
life receded, and the great figures and deeds of 
the Revolution were oftener in his thoughts. 
Once more he walked with Otis and Warren 
and Quincy ; once more, in mind, he rallied 
into closest battle-order the scattered Massa- 


chusetts towns, put to flight, unweaponed, the 
Fourteenth and Twenty-ninth regiments, and 
barred out Gage in the great crisis of the throe 
when " the child Independence was born." In 
mixed companies, and among strangers, he was 
reserved and silent; among friends he was com- 
panionable, abounding in anecdote, and keenly 
alive to wit. His grandchildren read to him, or 
were his amanuenses. To the last he was in- 
terested in the common schools. In 1795, while 
rejoicing over the establishment of academies, 
he had, as governor, expressed to the legisla- 
ture the fear that a large increase of these 
institutions might lessen " the ancient and ben- 
eficial mode of education in grammar schools," 
whose peculiar advantage is "that the poor and 
the rich may derive equal benefit from them, 
while none, excepting the more wealthy, gen- 
erally speaking, can avail themselves of the 
benefits of the academies." His form now was 
familiar in the school-rooms, and he was known 
as a friend by troops of children. 

It is pleasant to record that in the storm 
of party fury, now hotter than ever, there were 
some Federalists broad-minded enough to do 
him honor. When, in 1800, Governor Caleb 
Strong was advancing through Winter Street, 
in a great procession, probably at the time of 
his inauguration, Mr. Adams was observed in 


his house, looking out upon the pageant. The 
governor called a halt, and ordered the music 
to cease. Alighting from his carriage, he 
greeted the old man at the door, grasped the 
paralytic hands, and expressed, with head bared, 
his reverence for Samuel Adams. The soldiers 
presented arms, and the people stood uncovered 
and silent. 

Could he have lived a second life, a brilliant 
recognition would probably have fallen to him. 
The forces of federalism were becoming ex- 
hausted ; the incoming wave of democracy 
would certainly have lifted him into a place of 
power. Already, as we have seen, Virginia, in 
1796, cast fifteen votes in the electoral college 
for him as president; her great son, Jefferson, 
as he came at last into the supreme position, 
recalled, with enthusiasm, their association and 
sympathy in the first Congresses and could 
hardly find language strong enough to express 
his regret that old age must have its dues. 

"A government by representatives elected by the 
people, at short periods, was our object ; and our 
maxim at that day was, ' Where annual election ends, 
tyranny begins.' Nor have our departures from it 
been sanctioned by the happiness of their effects." 
" How much I lament that time has deprived me of 
your aid ! It would have been a day of glory which 
should have called you to the first office of my ad- 


ministration. But give us your counsel, my friend, 
and give us your blessing, and be assured that there 
exists not in the heart of man a more faithful esteem 
than mine to you, and that I shall ever bear you the 
most affectionate veneration and respect." 1 

His work was done, and Adams calmly 
awaited the end. As his friends were obliged 
to buy clothes for him that he might make a 
respectable appearance at the first Continental 
Congress, in 1774, so at the last it would have 
been necessary to support and bury him at the 
public expense, had he not inherited from his 
son, the army surgeon, claims against the gov- 
ernment which yielded about six thousand dol- 
lars. This sum, fortunately invested, sufficed 
for the simple wants of himself and his admi- 
rable wife. 

Tudor, in his " Life of James Otis," gives 
the following often quoted description of the 
political character of Samuel Adams : 

" He attached an exclusive value to the habits and 
principles in which he had been educated, and wished 
to adjust wide concerns too closely after a particular 
model. One of his colleagues who knew him well, 
and estimated him highly, described him, with good- 
natured exaggeration, in the following manner : 
' Samuel Adams would have the State of Massachu- 

1 February 26, 1800; March 29, 1801; from the manu- 


setts 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 inten- 
tionally ill-governed.' " 

It is not a good description of Samuel Ad- 
ams's limitation. He believed, to be sure, in 
the town first, then the State, then the Union ; 
but he had no such overweening confidence in 
himself as is here denoted. From the voice of 
the plain people there could be, in his idea, no 
appeal. In town-meeting assembled, their man- 
date would be wise, and must be authoritative. 
To that he deferred submissively in important 
crises, postponing his own judgment. His com- 
rades knew it, and sometimes shrewdly played 
upon him, as when they overcame his hesi- 
tation before the Federal constitution. Even 
when he himself was far in the foreground, 
acting with all energy from his own inspira- 
tions, it is probable he often fancied that he 
represented and was pushed by the popular im- 
pulse. He was submissive before " instruc- 
tions," as if in some way he were really heark- 
ening to the voice of God. He was slow in 
recognizing the ways through which, in a vast 
republic like ours, all large affairs must be ad- 
ministered. A nation of fifty millions cannot 
be run upon the town-meeting plan. There is 
a perilous decentralization, toward which, in 


the great forming days, Samuel Adams tended, 
as others rushed toward peril in the opposite 
extreme. Into the feeble Congress of 1781 he 
could not bear that there should be any in- 
troduction of "one man power," which alone 
could give it efficiency ; he favored terms of 
office too short for the suitable training of the 
official ; he thought power must ever return 
speedily to the people who gave it, so that the 
representative might never forget that he was 
the creature of his constituents. The cases 
are few, however, in which his advocacy was 
unreasonable ; when all has been said that can 
be said, America has had but few public men 
as devoted, as wise, as magnificently serviceable 
as he. 

He grew feeble during the summer of 1803, 
and was conscious, as was every one, that the 
end was at hand. Early on the morning of Sun- 
day, October 2, the tolling bells made known to 
the town that he was dead. The " Independent 
Chronicle " did him honor the next day in a 
fine specimen of dignified, old-fashioned obitu- 

There was embarrassment, through political 
enmity, in procuring a suitable escort for his 
funeral. But at length difficulties were over- 
come, and an impressive train, headed by the 


Independent Cadets, and consisting of many 
dignitaries and private friends, accompanied 
the plain coffin through the streets, during the 
firing of minute guns from the Castle. He 
was borne past the doors of the Old South, 
which in his age had become his place of wor- 
ship ; at length the muffled drums reverberated 
from Faneuil Hall, but before reaching it, at 
the Old State House, the funeral turned. Had 
no occult sympathy established itself between 
the heart that had grown still and the pile 
that rose so venerable in the twilight of the 
autumn day ? No other voice had sounded so 
often in its chambers ; its thresholds had felt 
the lightness of his youth and the feebleness of 
his age. Beneath its roof had gathered the 
scattered Massachusetts towns in the great old 
days, and, submissive to his controlling mind, 
had there wrought out a work that must 
sanctify the spot forever. Had there been a 
poet in the crowd, one fancies the blank win- 
dows of the council chamber and the assembly- 
room might have been seen to become suffused, 
and the quaint belfry to make some obeisance. 
There is no record that any sign was given. 
The train moved up Court Street into Tremont 
Street, and in the Granary Burying Ground, 
close by the victims of the Boston Massacre, 
Samuel Adams found his grave. In what is 


now Adams Square, the town he loved has com- 
memorated him worthily in imposing bronze. 
His dust lies almost beneath the feet of the 
passers in the great thoroughfare, and no stone 
marks the spot. 




HAVE New Englanders preserved the town- 
meeting of Samuel Adams ? Thirteen million, 
or about one quarter, of the inhabitants of the 
United States, are believed to be descendants of 
the twenty-one thousand who, in the dark days 
of Stuart domination, came from among the 
friends of Cromwell and Hampden to people the 
northeast. In large proportion they have for- 
saken the old seats, following the parallels 'of 
latitude into the great northwest, and now at 
length across the continent, to California and 
Oregon. At the beginning of the century 
Gray son wrote to Madison that " New England- 
ers are amazingly attached to their custom of 
planting by townships." So it has always been ; 
wherever New Englanders have had power to 
decide as to the constitution of a forming state, 
it has had the township at the basis. But in 
the immense dilution which this element of 
population has constantly undergone, through 
the human flood from all lands, which, side by 


side with it, has poured into the new territories, 
its influence has of necessity been often greatly 
weakened, and the form of the township has 
been changed from the original pattern, sel- 
dom advantageously. 1 In New England itself, 
moreover, a similar cause has modified some- 
what the old circumstances. While multitudes 
of the ancient stock have forsaken the granite 
hills, their places have been supplied by a Cel- 
tic race, energetic and prolific, whose teeming 
families throng city and village, threatening 
to outnumber the Yankee element, depleted as 
it has been by the emigration of so many of its 
most vigorous children. To these new-comers 
must be added now the French Canadians, 
who, following the track of their warlike an- 
cestors down the river- valleys, have come by 
thousands into the manufacturing towns and 
into the woods, an industrious but unprogres- 
sive race, good hands in the mills, and marvel- 
ously dexterous at wielding the axe. Whatever 
may be said of the virtues of these new-com- 
ers, and, of course, a long list could be made 
out for them, they have not been trained to 

1 S. A. Galpin, Walker's Statistical Atlas of U. S. ii. 10. 
Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, as follows : Albert Shaw, Local 
Government in Illinois ; E. W. Bemis, Local Government in 
Michigan and the North- West ; E. R. L. Gould, Local Govern- 
ment in Pennsylvania ; J. Macy, Institutional Beginnings of a 
Western State (Iowa). 


Anglo-Saxon self-government. We have seen 
the origin of the folk-mote far back in Teu- 
tonic antiquity. As established in New Eng- 
land, it is a revival of a very ancient thing. 
The institution is not congenial to all ; the 
Irishman and Frenchman are not at home in 
it, and cannot accustom themselves to it, until, 
as the new generations come forward, they 
take on the characteristics of the people among 
whom they have come to cast their lot. At 
present, in most old New England towns, we 
find an element of the population numbering 
hundreds, often thousands, who are sometimes 
quite inert, allowing others to decide all things 
for them ; sometimes voting in droves in an 
unintelligent way as some whipper-in may di- 
rect ; sometimes in unreasoning partisanship 
following through thick and thin a cunning 
demagogue, quite careless how the public wel- 
fare may suffer by his coming to the front. 

Still another circumstance which threatens 
the folk-mote is the multiplication of cities. 
When a community of moderate size, which has 
gone forward under its town-meeting, at length 
increases so far as to be entitled to a city char- 
ter, the day is commonly hailed by ringing of 
bells and salutes of cannon. But the assuming 
of a city charter has been declared to be " an 
almost complete abnegation of practical de- 


mocracy. The people cease to govern them- 
selves ; once a year they choose those who are 
to govern for them. Instead of the town-meet- 
ing discussions and votes, one needs now to 
spend only ten minutes, perhaps, in a year. 
No more listening to long debates about schools, 
roads, and bridges. One has only to drop a slip 
of paper, containing a list which some one has 
been kind enough to prepare for him, into a 
box, and he has done his duty as a citizen." ] 
In the most favorable circumstances, the mayor 
and common council, representing the citizens, 
do the work for them, while individuals are dis- 
charged from the somewhat burdensome, but 
educating and quickening duties of the folk- 
mote. As yet the way has not been discovered 
through which, in an American city, the pri- 
mordial cell of our liberty may be preserved 
from atrophy. 

Though the town-meeting of the New Eng- 
land of to-day rarely presents all the features 
of the town-meeting of Samuel Adams, yet 
wherever the population has remained tolerably 
pure from foreign admixture, and wherever the 
numbers at the same time have not become so 
large as to embarrass the transaction of busi- 
ness, the institution retains much of its old 
vigor. The writer recalls the life, as it was 
i New York Nation, May 29, 1866. 


twenty-five years ago, of a most venerable and 
uncontaminated old town, whose origin dates 
back more than two hundred years. At first it 
realized almost perfectly the idea of the Teu- 
tonic " tun." For a long time it was the fron- 
tier settlement, with nothing to the west but 
woods until the fierce Mohawks were reached, 
and nothing but woods to the north until one 
came to the hostile French of Canada. About 
the houses, therefore, was drawn the protection 
of a palisade to inclose them (tynari) against 
attack. Though not without some foreign in- 
termixture, the old stock was, twenty -five years 
ago, so far unchanged that in the various " dees- 
tricks" the dialect was often unmistakably 
nasal ; the very bob-o-links in the meadow- 
grass, and the bumble-bees in the holly-hocks 
might have been imagined to chitter and hum 
with a Yankee twang ; and " Zekle " squired 
" Huldy," as of yore, to singing-school or ap- 
ple-paring, to quilting or sugaring-off, as each 
season brought its appropriate festival. The 
same names stood for the most part on tax, vot- 
ing, and parish lists that stood there in the time 
of Philip's war, when for a space the people 
were driven out by the Indian pressure ; and the 
fathers had handed down to the modern day, 
with their names and blood, the venerable 
methods by which they regulated their lives. 


On the northern boundary a factory village had 
sprung up about a water-power ; at the south, 
too, five miles off, there was some rattle of mills 
and sound of hammers. Generally, however, 
the people were farmers, like their ancestors, 
reaping great hay-crops in June with which to 
fat in the stall long rows of sleek cattle for 
market in December ; or, by farmer's alchemy, 
transmuting the clover of the rocky hills into 
golden butter. 

From far and near, on the first Monday of 
March, the men gathered to the central vil- 
lage, whose people made great preparations for 
the entertainment of the people of the out- 
skirts. What old Yankee, wherever he may 
have strayed, will not remember the "town- 
meeting gingerbread," and the great roasts 
that smoked hospitably for all comers ! The 
sheds of the meeting-house close by were 
crowded with horses and sleighs ; for, in the 
intermediate slush, between ice and the spring 
mud, the runner was likely to be better than 
the wheel. The floor of the town-hall grew 
wet and heavy in the trampling; not in Eng- 
land alone is the land represented ; a full rep- 
resentation of the soil comes to a New Eng- 
land town-meeting, on the boots of the free- 
men. On a platform at the end of the plain 
room sat the five selectmen in a row, at their 


left was the venerable town clerk, with the am- 
ple volume of records before him. His memory 
went back to the men who were old in Wash- 
ington's administration, who in their turn re- 
membered men in whose childhood the French 
and Indians burned the infant settlement. 
Three lives, the town clerk's being the third, 
spanned the whole history of the town. He 
was full of traditions, precedents, minutiae of 
town history, and was an authority in all dis- 
puted points of procedure from whom there 
was no appeal. In front of the row of select- 
men with their brown, solid farmer faces, stood 
the moderator, a vigorous man in the forties, 
six straight feet in height, colonel of the county 
regiment of militia, of a term's experience in 
the General Court, and therefore conversant 
with parliamentary law, a quick and energetic 
presiding officer. 

It was indeed an arena. The south village 
was growing faster than the " street," and there 
were rumors of efforts to be made to move the 
town-hall from its old place, which aroused great 
wrath ; and both south village and " street " 
took it hard that part of the men of the dis- 
tricts to the north had favored a proposition 
to be set off to an adjoining town. The weak 
side of human nature came out as well as the 
strong in the numerous jealousies and bicker- 


ings. Following the carefully arranged pro- 
gramme or warrant, from which there could 
be no departure, because ample warning must 
be given of every measure proposed, item after 
item was considered, a change here in the 
course of the highway to the shire town, how 
much should be raised by taxes, the apportion- 
ment of money among the school districts, what 
bounty the town would pay its quota of troops 
for the war, a new wing for the poor-house, 
whether there should be a bridge at the west 
ford. Now and then came a touch of humor, 
as when the young husbands, married within 
the year, were elected field-drivers, officers tak- 
ing the place of the ancient hog-reeves. Once 
the moderator for the time being displeased 
the meeting by his rulings upon certain points 
of order. " Mr. Moderator," cried out an an- 
cient citizen with a twang in his voice like that 
of a well-played jewsharp, " ef it 's in awrder, 
I 'd jest like to inquire the price of cawn at 
Cheapside." It was an effective reductio ad 
absurdum. Another rustic Cicero, whom for 
some reason the physicians of the village had 
displeased, once filled up a lull in proceedings 
with : " Mr. Moderator, I move that a dwelling 
be erected in the centre of the grave-yard in 
which the doctors of the town be required to 
reside, that they may have always under their 
eyes the fruits of their labors." 


The talkers were sometimes fluent, some- 
times stumbling and awkward. The richest 
man in town, at the same time town treasurer, 
was usually a silent looker-on. His son, how- 
ever, president of the county agricultural so- 
ciety, an enterprising farmer, whose team was 
the handsomest, whose oxen were the fattest, 
whose crops were the heaviest, was in speech 
forceful and eloquent, with an energetic word 
to say on every question. But he was scarcely 
more prominent in the discussions than a poor 
cultivator of broom-corn, whose tax was only a 
few dollars. There was the intrigue of certain 
free-thinkers to oust the ministers from the 
school-committee, the manoeuvring of the fac- 
tions to get hold of the German colony, a body 
of immigrants lately imported into the factory- 
village to the north. These sat in a solid mass 
at one side while the proceedings went on in 
an unknown tongue, without previous training 
for such a work, voting this way or that accord- 
ing to the direction of two or three leaders. 

Watching it all, one could see how perfect a 
democracy it was. Things were often done far 
enough from the best way. Unwise or doubtful 
men were put in office, important projects were 
stinted by niggardly appropriations, unworthy 
prejudices were allowed to interfere with wise 
enterprises. Yet in the main the result was 


good. This was especially to be noted, how 
thoroughly the public spirit of those who took 
part was stimulated, and how well they were 
trained to self-reliance, intelligence of various 
kinds, and love for freedom. The rough black- 
smith or shoemaker, who had his say as to what 
should be the restriction about the keeping of 
dogs, or the pasturing of sheep on the western 
hills, spoke his mind in homely fashion enough, 
and possibly recommended some course not the 
wisest. That he could do so, however, helped 
his self-respect, and caused him to take a deeper 
interest in affairs beyond himself than if things 
were managed without a right on his part to 
interfere ; and this gain in self-respect, public 
spirit, self-reliance, to the blacksmith and shoe- 
maker, is worth far more than a mere smooth 
or cheap carrying on of affairs. 

Is there anything more valuable among An- 
glo-Saxon institutions than this same ancient 
folk-mote, this old-fashioned New England 
town-meeting ? What a list of important men 
can be cited who have declared, in the strongest 
terms that tongue can utter, their conviction of 
its preciousness ! l It has been alleged that to 

1 John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, p. 64, etc. ; 
De Tocqueville, De la De'mocratie en Ame'rique, i. 96, etc. ; 
J. Toulmin Smith, Local Self- Government and Centralization, 
p. 29, etc. ; May, Constitutional History of England, ii. 460 ; 


this more than anything else was due the su- 
premacy of England in America, the successful 
colonization out of which grew at last the 
United States. France failed precisely for want 
of this. 1 England prevailed precisely because 
" nations which are accustomed to township in- 
stitutions and municipal government are better 
able than any other to found prosperous col- 
onies. The habit of thinking and governing 
for one's self is indispensable in a new coun- 
try." So says De Tocqueville, seeking an ex- 
planation for the failure of his own race, and 
the victory of its great rival. 2 None have ad- 
mired this thorough New England democracy 
more heartily than those living under a very 
different polity. Richard Henry Lee of Vir- 
ginia wrote in admiration of Massachusetts, 3 as 
the place "where yet I hope to finish the re- 
mainder of my days. The hasty, unpersever- 
ing, aristocratic genius of the South suits not 
iny disposition, and is inconsistent with my 

Bluntschli, quoted by H. B. Adams, Germanic Origin ofN. E. 
Towns; Jefferson, to Kercheval, July 12, 1816, and to Cabell, 
February 2, 1816; John Adams, Letter to his wife, October 

29, 1775; Samuel Adams, Letter to Noah Webster, April 

30, 1784; R. W. Emerson, Concord Bicentennial Discourse, 
1835, etc. 

1 Lecky, Hist. XVIIIth Century, i. 387. 

2 De la Dem. en Am. i. 423. 

8 Life of R. H. Lee, Letter to John Adams, October 7, 
1779, i. 226. 


views of what must constitute social happiness 
and security." Jefferson becomes almost fierce 
in the earnestness with which he urges Vir- 
ginia to adopt the township. " Those wards, 
called townships in New England, are the vital 
principle of their governments, and have proved 
themselves the wisest invention ever devised 
by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of 
self-government, and for its preservation. . . . 
As Cato, then, concluded every speech with the 
words ' Carthago delenda estj so do I every 
opinion with the injunction : ' Divide the coun- 
ties into wards ! '" 1 

The town-meeting has been called " the pri- 
mordial cell of our body-politic." Is its condition 
at present such as to satisfy us ? As we have 
seen, even in New England, it is only here and 
there that it can be said to be well-maintained. 
At the South, Anglo-Saxon freedom, like the 
enchanted prince of the "Arabian Nights," 
whose body below the waist the evil witch had 
fixed in black marble, had been fixed in African 
slavery. The spell is destroyed ; the prince has 
his limbs again, but they are weak and wasted 
from the hideous trammel. The traces of the 
folk-mote in the South are sadly few. Nor 
elsewhere is the prospect encouraging. The 
influx of alien tides to whom our precious heir- 

l Works, vl 544 ; vii. 13. 


looms are as nothing, the growth of cities and 
the inextricable perplexities of their govern- 
ment, the vast inequality of condition between 
man and man what room is there for the lit- 
tle primary council of freemen, homogeneous in 
stock, holding the same faith, on the same level 
as to wealth and station, not too few in num- 
ber for the kindling of interest, not so many as 
to become unmanageable what room is there 
for it, or how can it be revivified or created ? It 
is, perhaps, hopeless to think of it. Mr. Free- 
man remarks that in some of the American col- 
onies u representation has supplanted the prim- 
itive Teutonic democracy, which had sprung into 
life in the institutions of the first settlers." 
Over vast areas of our country to-day, repre- 
sentation has supplanted democracy. It is an 
admirable, an indispensable expedient, of course. 
Yet that a representative system may be thor- 
oughly well managed, we need below it the 
primary assemblies of the individual citizens, 
" regular, fixed, frequent, and accessible," dis- 
cussing affairs and deciding for themselves. 
De Tocqueville seems to have thought that An- 
glo-Saxon America owes its existence to the 
town-meeting. It would be hard, at any rate, 
to show that the town-meeting was not a main 
source of our freedom. Certainly it is well to 
hold it in memory ; to give it new life, if pos- 


sible, wherever it exists ; to reproduce some 
semblance of it, however faint, in the regions 
to which it is unknown ; it is well to brush the 
dust off the half-forgotten historic figure who, 
of all men, is its best type and representative. 


ADAMS, HENRY, progenitor of the 
Adams family, 13. 

Adams, John, value of his diary, 43 ; 
describes James Otis in the case 
of the writs of assistance, 44 ; 
writes the Braintree instructions 
in 1765, 53 ; supports the petition 
to the governor and council in 
1765, 75; describes the Caucus 
Club, 76 ; removes to Boston and 
writes instructions for the repre- 
sentatives in 1768, 112 ; writes in- 
structions for the representatives 
in 1769, 135 ; drives with Samuel 
Adams, 152 ; his account of Sam- 
uel Adams at the time of the Bos- 
ton Massacre, 172 ; serves on the 
night-watch, 175 ; defends the sol- 
diers, 183; gives aid in the con- 
troversy as to parliamentary au- 
thority, 210 ; presides at the Port 
Bill meeting in 1774, 293 ; elected 
delegate to the first Continental 
Congress, 295, etc. ; sets out for 
Philadelphia, reports the journey 
in his diary, 309, etc. ; his self- 
consciousness, 311 ; nominates 
Washington for commander-in- 
chief, 335 ; begins to favor inde- 
pendence in third Continental 
Congress, 341 ; on committee to 
prepare the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, 348; the best debater 
in the early Congresses, 359 ; de- 
fends aristocracy in a controversy 
with Samuel Adams, 406. 

Adams, Captain John, grandfather 
of Samuel Adams, 14. 

Adams, Joseph, grandfather of Pres- 
ident John Adams, 14. 

Adams, Samuel, Senior, father of 
Samuel Adams, a political leader, 
his home and estate, justice of 
the peace, deacon, selectman, 
member of Assembly, helps form 

the Caulkers' Club, 15; opposes 
Governor Shute, 16; his promi- 
nence in time of Governor Shir- 
ley, 19 ; dies in 1748, 20. 
Adams, Samuel, his parentage, 14 ; 
school days and college life, 16 ; 
his thesis as a Master of Arts, 17 ; 
tries law, mercantile life, 18 ; be- 
comes his father's partner in a 
nialt-house, 19 ; marries Elizabeth 
Checkley, 20 ;_ inherits a feud 
with Thomas Hutchinson, 34 ; at- 
tempt to seize and sell his prop- 
erty to close the Land Bank 
scheme, 35; accused of defalca- 
tion as tax-collector, 37, 47 ; shows 
marks of age at 42, death of his 
wife, failure in business, 46 ; writes 
town's instructions to the repre- 
sentatives in 1764, 47 ; marries 
Elizabeth Wells, 50 ; elected to 
Assembly in 1765, man of the town- 
meeting, 54 ; becomes the leader 
of the Assembly, 62 ; compared 
with James Otis, 63 ; opposes par- 
liamentary representation of the 
colonies, 64, 67; writes the re- 
sponse to Bernard and the Massa- 
chusetts Resolves, 71 ; suggests 
the non-importation scheme, 74; 
his keenness in discovering able 
young men, 75 ; becomes clerk of 
the Assembly, 93 ; non-importa- 
tion and non-consumption agree- 
ments adopted, 101 ; writes docu- 
ments constituting the " True 
Sentiments of America," 103 ; 
denounces a Protestant episco- 
pate, 104 ; writes the ' ' Circular 
Letter " of 1768, 105 ; has words 
with James Otis, 113; his popu- 
larity with mechanics and labor- 
ers, 115 ; description of, in the 
affidavit of Richard Sylvester, 
117 ; begins, in 1768, to work for 



independence, 119; Tory accusa- 
tions of duplicity, 120 ; his indig- 
nation at reactionary spirit in 
1768, 123; appealed to to save a 
soldier from flogging, 128 ; his ac- 
tivity in the newspapers, 129 ; on 
imperfections of the British con- 
stitution, 130; publicly hints at 
independence in 1769, 134; de- 
nounces the Rev. Mr. Seabury, 
135 ; niocks Governor Bernard at 
his departure, 140 ; becomes leader 
of the patriots on the decay of 
Otis, 148 ; his poverty and incor- 
ruptibility, 152; writes "Appeal 
to the World," 154 ; protects the 
Scotchman, 157 ; his bearing at 
the time of the Boston Massacre, 
167, etc. ; his speech to Governor 
Hutchinson in the council cham- 
ber, 173 ; displeased with the issue 
of the trial of the soldiers, the 
" Vindex" letters, 184; foiled by 
Hutchinson in the controversy as 
to royal instructions, 186 ; dis- 
trusts Franklin, 189 ; opposes su- 
pineness in 1771, 191 ; denounces 
in 1772 pensioned judges, 194; 
brings into being the Committee 
of Correspondence, 196, etc. ; his 
counsel sought by Rhode Island 
at the time of the destruction of 
the Gaspee. 205 ; the controversy 
as to parliamentary authority, 
210, etc. ; his connection with the 
affair of the Hutchinson letters, 
225; advocates a congress of the 
colonies in 1773, 236 ; publicly ad- 
vocates independence in 1773, 
238; his part in the destruction 
of the tea, 243, etc. ; bases Amer- 
ica's claim to liberty mainly on 
natural right, 258 ; tries to bring 
about the impeachment of Chief 
Justice Peter Oliver, 261 ; writes 
an oration for Hancock to deliver 
on anniversary of the Massacre, 
263 ; his great ascendency at time 
of the Port Bill, 290; engineers 
the choosing of delegates for the 
first Continental Congress, 291, 
etc. ; elected delegate to the first 
Continental Congress, 295, etc. ; 
locks the Assembly in, 296 ; chair- 
man of committee for relieving 
the poor and distributing dona- 
tions after the Port Bill goes into 
operation, 298 ; champion of the 
Committee of Correspondence 
against the Tories, 299 ; the gov- 

ernment's reasons: for not seizing 
him in 1774, testimony of Hutch- 
inson to his incorruptibility, 301 ; 
Gage's attempt upon him through 
Colonel Fenton, 302 : his ideas of 
democracy, 303; his home life, 
the place in Purchase Street, 305 ; 
his taste in music, 306 ; receives 
help from his friends before going 
to Philadelphia, 308 ; sets out for 
the first Congress, 309; his reti- 
cence, 311 ; meets on the journey 
to Philadelphia patriots from the 
other colonies, 312 ; his influence 
dreaded in the Congress, 315 ; he 
moves that the Rev. Mr. Duche, 
an Episcopalian, open the Con- 
gress with prayer, 315 ; on com- 
mittee to state the rights of the 
colonies, 317 ; vigorously opposes 
all concession, 320 ; his great in- 
fluence in Massachusetts, 321 ; in 
the Provincial Congress, 322 ; at 
the town-meeting of March 6, 
1775, 324, etc. ; letter to R. H. 
Lee describing it, 328 ; flight from 
Lexington, April 19, 1775, 330, 
331 ; on the way to the second 
Continental Congress, 332 ; soli- 
tary among leading statesmen, in 
1775, in his wish for independence, 
333 ; seconds nomination of Wash- 
ington to be commander-in-chief, 
335 ; proscribed by Gage, 336 ; let- 
ter on his proscription and the 
death of Joseph Warren, 337 ; cor- 
diality toward Washington, agency 
in the appointment of Charles Lee 
to be second in command, becomes 
secretary of state in Massachu- 
setts, 339 ; at Philadelphia for the 
third Continental Congress, 340; 
promotes invasion of Canada, 341 ; 
writes " Earnest Appeal to the Peo- 
ple," in behalf of independence, 
February, 1776, 342; denounces 
his colleagues from Massachusetts, 
343 ; denounces the Quakers, 344 ; 
in the debate on R. H. Lee's reso- 
lution, 347 ; on committee to pre- 
pare a plan of confederation, 
348 ; letter to John Pitts describ- 
ing the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, 350 ; the man of the town- 
meeting, 352, etc. ; his place in 
the group of Massachusetts lead- 
ers, a combination of incongrui- 
ties, 357 ; as an orator, 358 ; as a 
writer, 360, etc. ; testimony of 
friends and enemies to his power, 



362; as a manager of men, 363, 
etc. ; called by Jefferson the Pa- 
linurus of the Revolution, 365; 
a Tory's estimate, 366; Riving- 
ton's estimate, 367 ; a typical Yan- 
kee, 368; his unselfishness, 369; 
"second only to Washington," 
370 ; his importance not circum- 
scribed, 371 ; first advocate of in- 
dependence, 372 ; appropriateness 
of the title " Father of America," 
374; his later congressional ser- 
vice, helps construct the state 
constitution of Massachusetts, 
376; never unfriendly to Wash- 
ington, 377, etc. ; at the reception 
of M. Gerard, French ambassador, 
380 ; helps maintain the entente 
eardiale with the French, opposes 
giving half-pay for life to Revolu- 
tionary officers, opposes estab- 
lishment of departments with 
secretaries, 381, 382; his last act 
in Congress to sign Articles of 
Confederation, 382 ; his attach- 
ment to these, 385 ; continued in- 
terest in Boston town-meeting, 
386; president of the Massachu- 
setts Senate, 387 ; at the depart- 
ure of the French army, implaca- 
ble towards the Tories, 388; re- 
ports no defects in the town con- 
stitution of Boston, 389 ; opposes 
Shays's rebellion, 391 ; hesitates 
at the adoption of the federal 
constitution, 392, etc. ; how won 
over, 396; defeated for Congress 
by Fisher Ames, warned against 
assassination, becomes lieutenant- 
governor, 402 ; address to the 
Massachusetts legislature, 403 ; 
controversy as to theatrical rep- 
resentations, 404, 405 ; controversy 
with John Adams, leads " Repub- 
licans " in Massachusetts, 406 ; 
restored friendship with Hancock, 
last letter to Hancock, 407; at 
Hancock's funeral, as governor, 
408; approves Washington's pol- 
icy as to foreign entanglements, 
disapproves Jay treaty, honored 
by Virginia in presidential elec- 
tion of 1796, 409 ; appearance in 
age, 410 ; interest in common 
schools, 411 ; Caleb Strong's ven- 
eration, Jefferson's tribute, 412, 
413; his deference toward the 
voice of t' e people, 414 ; his 
death, 415; his funeral, 416; his 
unmarked grave, 417. 

Adams, Samuel, 3d, studies medi- 
cine with Dr. Warren, 306; es- 
capes from Boston during the 
siege, 337 ; becomes a surgeon in 
Washington's army, 339 ; his 
death, 393. 

Ames, Fisher, his influence at the 
adoption of the federal constitu- 
tion by Massachusetts, 398 ; de- 
feats Samuel Adams for Congress, 

Appeal to the World, 154. 

Assembly, Massachusetts, constitu- 
tion of, 23 ; relation of to the 
town-meetings, 55, etc. ; its cham- 
ber in the Old State House, 60. 

Attucks, Crispus, killed in the Bos- 
ton Massacre, 164. 

BARR&, COLONEL ISAAC, opposes the 
Stamp Act in Parliament, 51 ; his 
speech at the time of the Boston 
Port Bill, 265. 

Bears, Isaac, landlord at New Ha- 
ven, entertains delegates to the 
first Congress, 310, 312. 

Beaver, tea-ship in 1773, 250. 

Bernard, Francis, becomes governor 
in 1760, his character, 38, 140; 
opposes the Stamp Act, Camden's 
testimony in his favor, 51 ; his 
conduct in the affair of the Lib- 
erty, 111 ; his removal prayed for 
by the Assembly, 115 ; describes a 
town-meeting, 122 ; adjourns As- 
sembly to Cambridge in 1769, 
136; recalled and made baronet, 
139 ; his departure from America, 
143 ; testimony as to S. Adams as 
a writer, 362. 

Billeting Act, 138. 

Blackburn, Judge, his view of par- 
liamentary supremacy, given in 
1868, in the case of Governor Eyre 
of Jamaica, 85. 

Bland, Richard, of Virginia, recom- 
mends restoration in English con- 
stitution of the primitive Anglo- 
Saxon freedom, 87. 

Board of Trade, its baleful agency 
in promoting the estrangement of 
the colonies from England, 27. 

Bollan, agent of Massachusetts 
Council, obtains in England let- 
ters thought to compromise Ber- 
nard, 142. 

Boston, at the beginning of the Rev- 
olution, 3 ; town records of, 4 ; 
population, 5; industries of, 6; 
slavery in, 7 ; ministers, mer- 



chants of, 8 ; workmen, newspa- 
pers, 10 ; folk-mote in, 11 ; leads 
the Revolution, 13 ; calls a con- 
vention of towns in 1768, 122 ; con- 
duct at the time of the Massacre, 
184 ; conduct at destruction of 
tea, 243 : conduct at the time of 
the Port Bill, 271 ; harbor closed 
by the Port Bill, 289 ; Gage tries 
vainly to stop the town-meetings, 

Boston Gazette, organ of the Whigs, 
its popularity, 133, 134. 

Bowdoin, James, of Huguenot ori- 
gin, 5 ; becomes leader of the 
Council in 1766, 96; steadfast 
against removal of the legislature 
from Boston, 187 : takes part in 
the controversy as to parliament- 
ary authority, 214 ; takes part in 
tlie effort to impeach Chief Jus- 
tice Oliver, 261 ; elected delegate 
to the first Continental Congress, 
295 ; prevented from going by the 
sickness of his wife, 309 ; his use- 
fulness crippled by ill-health, 356 ; 
portrait of in Shays's rebellion, 

Bunker Hill, battle of, 337. 

Burke, Edmund, his ideas on rep- 
resentation, 57 ; his maiden 
speech, 81 ; friend of America in 
1769, 131. 

Byles, Rev. Dr. Mather, 8 ; on the 
re(d)dressed grievances, 127. 

CAMDEN, Lord, praises Governor 
Bernard, 51 ; his speech in debate 
on repeal of the Stamp Act, 82 ; 
disposed to rest the cause of the 
colonies on the basis of natural 
justice, 87. 

Charter, first, of Massachusetts, 21 ; 
second, its features, 22, 23 ; 
changed in 1774, 302. 

Chase, Thomas, of Maryland, favors 
independence, 344. 

Chauncy, Rev. Charles, 8 ; his con- 
troversy with the Rev. Mr. Sea- 
bury, 135. 

Checkley, Elizabeth, first wife of 
Samuel Adams, 20 ; her death, 46. 

Church, Dr. Benjamin, appears to 
favor the Committee of Corre- 
spondence, 197 ; drafts in part its 
manifesto, 201 ; his oration on the 
anniversary of the Massacre, 216 ; 
suggests a Congress of the col- 
onies in 1773, 217 ; treason of, 

Church membership, at first requi- 
site for a freeman, 22. 

Circular Letter of 1768, adopted, 
105, 106 ; Assembly refuses to re- 
scind it, 114. 

Clark, Major George Rogers, finds, 
in subduing the Mississippi valley, 
the Indians and habitans prepared 
"to fight Boston," 13. 

Clark, Rev. Jonas, Adams and Han- 
cock at his house in Lexington, 
April, 1775, 330. 

Clarke, Richard, consignee of tea 
in 1773, 244. 

Committee of Correspondence, Sam- 
uel Adams's first idea of, account 
of its formation, 196, etc. ; re- 
sponse of the towns to its over- 
tures, 201, etc. ; intercolonial, pro- 
posal for proceeds from Virginia, 

Confederation, Articles of, difficul- 
ties of framing, 382, etc. ; Samuel 
Adams's attachment to, 385. 

Congress, Continental, recommend- 
ed by Church and Samuel Adams, 
237 ; election of delegates to the 
first, 297, etc. ; opening of the 
first, 313 ; state papers of the first, 
319 ; not unsatisfactory to the 
friends of freedom, 321 ; second 
Continental Congress, 333, etc. ; 
third Continental Congress, 341, 

Congress, Provincial, steps toward, 
303 ; ability and worth of its mem- 
bers, 322. 

Constitution, federal, adoption of 
in Massachusetts, 392, etc. 

Conway, General, English secretary 
of state, 80. 

Cooper, Rev. Dr. Samuel, 8 ; prayer 
at town-meeting after the Boston 
Massacre, 167; favors independ- 
ence, 345. 

Cooper, William, town clerk of Bos- 
ton, 5, 36 ; presides at the meet- 
ing after the Massacre, 166; his 
vehemence against the soldiers, 
184 ; at the destruction of the tea, 
255 ; at town-meeting of March 6, 
1775, 325. 

Copley, J. S., his portraits of mer- 
chants, 9 ; paints Samuel Adams, 
181 ; his conduct at destruction of 
the tea, 249. 

Council, constitution of, 23 ; changed 
by Parliament in 1774, 266. 

Court, Superior, constitution of, 
24; controversy concerning inde- 



pendence of judges of, 216, 234, 

Courts, subordinate, constitution of, 

Gushing, Thomas, Samuel Adams in 
the counting-room of the father 
of, 18 ; speaker of the Assembly for 
successive years, 93; reactionary 
in the case of the removal of the 
legislature, 186 ; opposes the Com- 
mittee of Correspondence, 197 ; 
chairman of the legislative Com- 
mittee of Correspondence, 219 ; 
favors submission in 1773, 237 ; 
brought over to Whig side by 
Samuel Adams, 239 ; elected dele- 
gate to first Continental Congress, 
295; sets out for Philadelphia, 
309; favors conciliation in third 
Continental Congress, 341 ; fails 
of reelection, 343 ; his limitation, 

DALRYMPLE, colonel of the 14th regi- 
ment at Boston Massacre, 169 ; 
yields to the people, 174 ; his 
character as a soldier, 178. 

Dartmouth, Earl of, colonial sec- 
retary after Hillsborough, 237 ; 
Hutchinson describes to him Sam- 
uel Adams, 240. 

Dartmouth, first tea-ship in 1773, 

Deberdt, Dennys, agent of the As- 
sembly in England, addressed 
through Samuel Adams in 17G8, 
103 ; dies and is succeeded by 
Franklin, 187 ; Declaration of In- 
dependence, moved by R. H. Lee, 
346 ; debate on, 347 ; committee 
to draft, 348 ; hilarity of Congress 
at its adoption, 349. 

Declaratory Act, 91. 

De Tocqueville, on the value of the 
town-meeting, 428, 430. 

Dickinson, John, author of the 
" Farmer's Letters," 109 ; thanked 
by Boston, 110 ; vehement oppo- 
sition to the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, 346. 

Distilling, important business in co- 
lonial Boston, 6. 

Duch, Rev. Mr., opens first Conti- 
nental Congress with prayer, 316. 

EAST INDIA COMPANY, distress of to 
be relieved by the Tea Act, 236. 

Ecclesiasticism, potent cause of the 
estrangement of the colonies from 
England, 27. 

Edes & Gill, publishers of the Bos- 
ton Gazette, their office an impor- 
tant gathering place for the Whigs, 
129, 134, 245. 

Eleanor, tea-ship in 1773, 250. 

Eliot, Rev. Andrew, 8. 

origin, 5 ; consignee of the tea 
in 1773, 244. 

Faneuil Hall, usual place for town- 
meetings, 59 ; four hundred mus- 
kets on the floor, 121 ; quarters of 
the 14th regiment, 124; at the 
time of the Massacre, 166; Sam- 
uel Adams in, 353. 

Fifield, Mary, mother of Samuel 
Adams, 14. 

Flucker, Thomas, colonial secre- 
tary, 187 ; sent by Gage to pro- 
rogue Assembly in 1774, 296. 

Folk-mote, primordial cell of Anglo- 
Saxon liberty, reappears in the 
New England town-meeting. See 

Franklin, Benjamin, before the bar 
of the House of Commons in 1766, 
31 ; acquiesces in the Stamp Act, 
50 ; favors representation of the 
colonies in Parliament, 64 ; agent 
of the Assembly, 188; distrusted 
by Samuel Adams, 189 ; his con- 
nection with the Hutchinson let- 
ters, 221, 233 ; favors making com- 
pensation for the destroyed tea, 
265 ; regards independence with 
disfavor, 345 ; on committee to 
draft Declaration of Independ- 
ence, 348 ; his joke July 4th, 349. 

Franklin, William, Tory governor 
of New Jersey, 190. 

Freeman, E. A., harsh judgment of 
either party in American Revolu- 
tion out of place, 26 ; his views 
anticipated by Bland, 87 ; his ac- 
count of the democracy of Switz- 
erland, 354; declares representa- 
tion is supplanting democracy in 
some parts of America, 430. 

for independence, 340. 

Gage, General Thomas, testimony 
to the leadership of Boston in the 
Revolution, 13 ; demands quarters 
for the troops in 1768, 127 ; ap- 
pointed temporarily governor, 
267; enters upon his office, 273, 
289; foiled by Samuel Adams in 
the election of delegates to the 



first Continental Congress, 297; 
fortifies Boston Neck, 303 ; foiled 
by Boston as to the prohibition of 
town - meetings, 323 ; proscribes 
Samuel Adams and Hancock, 33G. 

Galloway, the Tory, his testimony 
as to the influence of Samuel Ad- 
ams in 1774, 318. 

Gaspee, the burning of the, 205. 

George III., difficulty of his posi- 
tion, 26. 

Gerry, Elbridge, Samuel Adams 
writes to him concerning the Com- 
mittee of Correspondence, 197 ; 
elected to third Continental Con- 
gress, 343; joked for his small 
size at the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, 349 ; opposed to federal 
constitution, 401. 

Ge"rard, French ambassador, for- 
mally received, 380. 

Goldthwait, Ezekiel, town clerk of 
Boston, 36. 

Gordon, his description of a New 
England town at the Revolution, 
2 ; his testimony to the self-seek- 
ing of James Otis, 151 ; his testi- 
mony as to the earnestness of 
Samuel Adams in the first Con- 
gress, 320. 

Grayson, on attachment of New 
Englanders to town-meetings, 418. 

Greenleaf, sheriff of Suffolk, at the 
destruction of the tea, 248. 

Grenville, George, enforces customs 
regulations at the close of the 
Seven Years' War, 40 ; introduces 
the Stamp Act, 50 ; favors parlia- 
mentary representation for the 
colonies, 64 ; his fair purposes, 
79 ; disapproves the order requir- 
ing the rescinding of the Circular 
Letter of 1768, 132. 

Grey's rope-walk, workmen of, en- 
gage in brawls with the soldiers, 

HALL, captain of the tea-ship Dart- 
mouth, 247. 

Hancock, John, at home, 8 ; cele- 
brates repeal of the Stamp Act, 
91 ; elected to Assembly, 92 ; at 
the time of the Massacre, 171 ; 
employs Copley to paint Samuel 
Adams, 181 ; reactionary in the 
case of the removal of the legis- 
lature, 186 ; his connection with 
the Hutchinson letters, 225 ; his 
part in the destruction of the tea, 
243, etc. ; opposes the Committee 

of Correspondence, 197 ; his ora- 
tion on the anniversary of the 
Massacre, 262; receives Gage on 
his arrival as governor, 273 ; flight 
from Lexington, April 19, 1775, 
330 ; writes a manly letter, 331 ; be- 
comes President of Congress, 335 ; 
his mortification at the nomination 
of Washington as comrnander-in - 
chief, proscribed by Gage, 336 ; 
affiliates with aristocrats, 341 ; 
his limitations, 356 ; called the 
" dupe " of Samuel Adams, 366, 
367 ; circulates the story that 
Samuel Adams is unfriendly to 
Washington, 379 ; helps to restore 
the entente cordiale with the 
French, 381 ; won over by The- 
ophilus Parsons to support federal 
constitution, 395 ; reconciled with 
Samuel Adams, 402; death and 
funeral, 408. 

Harrison, Benjamin, his joke at the 
Declaration of Independence, 349. 

Harvard College, befriended by Gov- 
ernor Bernard, 141 ; legielature 
removed thither from 1769 to 1772, 
136; celebrates the accession of 
Hutchinson to governorship, 187. 

Hawley, Joseph, member of the 
Assembly from Northampton, 92 ; 
his advanced ground hi 1766, 96 ; 
his excitability, 103 ; steadfast 
against the removal of the legis- 
lature, 187 ; aids in the contro- 
versy as to parliamentary au- 
thority, 210 ; in the case of the 
Hutchinson letters, 227 ; favors 
independence, 345 ; his usefulness 
crippled by his rnoodmess and 
the remoteness of his home, 356. 

Henry, Patrick, his resolutions in 
1765, 51 ; his speech at opening of 
the first Continental Congress, 
314; early ready for independ- 
ence, 340 ; opposed to the federal 
constitution, 401. 

Henshaw, selectman on town's com- 
mittee at time of the Boston Mas- 
sacre, 171. 

Hillsborough, Earl of, colonial sec- 
retary, 132; retires in 1772, 193. 

Hollis, Thomas, publishes in Eng- 
land "The True Sentiments of 
America," 109. 

House of Representatives. See As- 

Huguenot families in Boston, 5. 

Hutchinson, Thomas, in feud with 
Samuel Adams, Senior, 34; chief 



justice in 1760, and tries case of 
the writs of assistance, 42 ; as his- 
torian, 43 ; opposed to the Stamp 
Act, 51 ; suffers outrage in the riot 
of 1765, 52 ; favors parliament- 
ary representation of the colonies, 
64 ; rejected for the Council by 
the Assembly, 95; pensioned by 
Hillsborough in 1767, 102 , as lieu- 
tenant-governor, chief magistrate 
in 1769, 145; summary of his ca- 
reer hitherto, 145, 146, 147 ; at the 
Boston Massacre, 164, etc. ; be- 
comes governor, 187 ; at fault as 
to the Committee of Correspond- 
ence, 203 ; controversy as to par- 
liamentary authority, 208, etc. ; 
the Hutchinson letters, 221, etc. ; 
settles boundary between Massa- 
chusetts and New York, 225 ; de- 
scribes Samuel Adams to Lord 
Dartmouth, 240 ; his conduct at 
the destruction of the tea, 251 ; 
John Adams's testimony to his 
financial ability, his one mistake, 
280 ; his character, 281, etc. ; his 
farewell to Milton Hill, 282 ; con- 
fiscation of his tomb and theft of 
his coat of arms, 284 ; good re- 
ception in England, interview 
with the king, 285 ; his austerity, 
his love for America, 286 ; his let- 
ter-books, his " Vindication," 287 ; 
addresses at his departure from 
merchants and lawyers, 289 ; his 
testimony to the incorruptibility 
of Samuel Adams, 301 ; gives fact 
as to town-meeting of March 6, 
1775, 327 ; testimony as to Samuel 
Adams's ability as a writer, 362 ; 
as to his early advocacy of inde- 
pendence, 372. 

Hutchinson, Thomas and Elisha, 
sons of the governor, break the 
non - importation agreement in 
1770, 156 ; at destruction of the 
tea, 244. 

INSTRUCTIONS, Samuel Adams's of 
1764 to representatives, 47 ; those 
of S. and J. Adams in 1765, 53; 
the general doctrine of instruc- 
tion to representatives, 55 ; from 
the king to crown officials, re- 
sisted in 1770, 186, etc. 

JAY, JOHN, at opening of the first 

Continental Congress, 315. 
Jay treaty, opposed by Samuel Ad- 

Jefferson, Thomas, late in favoring 
independence, 345 ; drafts the 
Declaration, 348 ; upon Samuel 
Adams as an orator, 359 ; upon 
Samuel Adams's ability as a man- 
ager, 364, 365 ; his reverence for 
Samuel Adams, 412, 413 ; his lik- 
ing for the town organization, 429. 

KNOX, HENRY, at Boston Massacre, 


Lecky, on virtual representation of 
the colonies in Parliament in 1765, 

Lee, Arthur, associated with Frank- 
lin as agent of the Assembly, 190 ; 
correspondent of Samuel Adams, 

Lee, Charles, made second in com- 
mand of army, 1775, 339. 

Lee, Richard Henry, correspondent 
of Samuel Adams, 328; early 
ready for independence, 340 ; 
moves the Declaration, June 5, 
1776, 346 ; opposed to federal con- 
stitution, 401. 

Leonard, Daniel, denounces Commit- 
tee of Correspondence, 204 ; able 
Tory writer, 208 ; outwitted by 
Samuel Adams at choosing of dele- 
gates to the first Continental Con- 
gress, 293, etc. 

Liberty, sloop, affair of, 111. 

Liberty Tree, 243. 

Lincoln, General, his march to Pe- 
tersham, 392. 

Livingston, R. R., on committee to 
draft the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, 348. 

Locke, John, member of Board of 
Trade, 27. 

Louisburg, expedition to, 19. 

Luzerne, French minister, criticises 
Samuel Adams as obstructing an 
organized government, 381. 

Lynde, judge of the Superior Court, 
rejected for the Council by the 
Assembly, 95. 

MACDOUGALL, Major General, meets 
Samuel Adams, 312 ; correspond- 
ence concerning camp equipage, 

Magna Charta, a confirmation of old 
privileges, 30. 

Mandamus councilors, 302. 

Mansfield, Lord, speech in debate 
on the repeal of the Stamp Act, 



83 ; approves Hutchinsou's course 
in the controversy as to parlia- 
mentary authority, 214. 

Massachusetts leads the thirteen 
colonies in the Revolution, 11 ; 
under the old charter, 21 ; under 
the new charter, 22, etc. ; under 
provisional government, 321, etc. ; 
under the state constitution, 376, 

Massachusetts Gazette, organ of the 
Tories, 133. 

Massacre, Boston, 160, etc. 

May, Colonel Joseph, tells how Sam- 
uel Adams and Hancock were 
won to support the federal consti- 
tution, 394, 395. 

Mayhew, Rev. Jonathan, 8. 

Mechanics of Boston, 9. 

Mein, John, driven out as a Tory, 

Merchants of Boston, 8. 

Milton Hill, Hutchinson's farewell 
to his home at, 282. 

Mohawks, at the tea-party, 254. 

Molineux, William, on town's com- 
mittee at the Massacre, 171 ; at 
destruction of the tea, 244. 

Montague, Admiral, commands Brit- 
ish fleet in 1771, 191 ; at destruc- 
tion of the tea, 254. 

Montgomery, Major General, favor- 
ite of Samuel Adams, 341. 

NEWSPAPERS, of Boston, 10. 

Non-importation and non-consump- 
tion agreements in 1767, 101 ; in 
1769, 153 ; in 1774, 298. 

North, Lord, succeeds Townshend 
as premier, 102 ; determined to 
see America at the king's feet, 
132 ; introduces the Tea Act, 236. 

OLD SOUTH CHURCH, Samuel Adams, 
Senior, deacon of, 15 ; at the time 
of the affair of the Liberty, 111 ; 
at the time of the Massacre, 168, 
etc. ; at the destruction of the 
tea, 247, etc. ; on March 6, 1775, 
324, etc. 

Old State House, why interesting, 
59 ; description of, 60 ; at the time 
of the Massacre, 160, etc. ; the 
battle-ground of Samuel Adams, 
354; at the funeral of Samuel 
Adams, 416. 

Oliver, Andrew, stamp-distributor 
in 1765, 52 ; rejected as secretary 
of state, for the Council, by the 
Assembly, 95 ; advises Hutchinson 

to yield at the time of the Mas- 
sacre, 174 ; becomes lieutenant- 
governor, 187 ; connection with 
the Hutchinson letters, 222, 224 ; 
his removal demanded, 228 ; his 
sad fate, 277. 

Oliver, Peter, rejected, as judge of 
the Superior Court for the Coun- 
cil, by the Assembly, 95 ; as chief 
justice refuses to decline the royal 
grant, 259 ; efforts to impeach 
him, 260. 

Otis, James, Senior, 42. 

Otis, James, Junior, his personal 
appearance, 42; the case of the 
writs of assistance, 44 ; his power 
as an orator, readiness to sub- 
mit to the Stamp Act, 63; fa- 
vors parliamentary representa- 
tion of the colonies, 64 ; at the 
Stamp Act Congress, 72 ; opens 
debates of the Assembly to the 

?ublic, 94 ; reactionary in 1767, 
01 ; his speech in the affair of 
the Liberty, 111 ; has words with 
Samuel Adams, lit* ; his delay to 
appear at the convention of the 
towns in 1768, 123 ; assaulted in 
17G9, 148 ; his overbearing man- 
ners, 149 ; as a source of embar- 
rassment, 150 ; his self-seeking, 
151 ; expresses aversion to the 
soldiers, 160; reactionary in the 
case of the removal of the legisla- 
ture, 186 ; made chairman of the 
Committee of Correspondence, 
200; his last appearance in Fan- 
euil Hall, 201 ; his great powers 
and his limitations, 355. 

PAINE, ROBERT TREAT, prosecutes 
soldiers after the Massacre, 183; 
elected delegate to the first Conti- 
nental Congress, 295 ; sets out, 
309 ; favors conciliation in the 
third Congress, 341. 

Paine, Thomas, writes "Common 
Sense " and the " Crisis," 343. 

Parliament, controversy as to au- 
thority of, 207, etc. 

Parsons, Theophilus, at adoption of 
federal constitution, 395. 

Paxton, commissioner of customs, 
101 ; his connection with the 
Hutchinson letters, 222, 224. 

Pemberton, selectman, on town's 
committee at the time of the Mas- 
sacre, 171. 

Pepperell, Sir William, at LouUburg, 



Phillips, on town's committee at 
time of the Massacre, 171; op- 
poses Committee of Correspond- 
ence, 197 ; at destruction of the 
tea, 243. 

Pierpont, Robert, member of Com- 
mittee of Correspondence, 257. 

Pitt, speech in the debate on the re- 
peal of the Stamp Act, 82. 

Pitts, John, at destruction of the 
tea, 254 ; Samuel Adams writes to 
him describing the Declaration of 
Independence, 349. 

Port Bill, 264 ; goes into effect, 289. 

Pownall. Thomas, becomes governor 
in 1756, 34 ; defends America in 
Parliament, 35, 265. 

Prelacy, fear of, a main cause of the 
estrangement of the colonies, 27 ; 
denounced by Samuel Adams, 104. 

Preston, Captain Thomaa, at Boston 
Massacre, 162; brought to trial, 

QUAKERS, oppose the Revolution and 
denounced by Samuel Adams, 344. 

Quebec, effect of its capture in 1759, 

Quebec Act, 266. 

Queue, the dog of Samuel Adams, 

Quincy, Josiah, advocates armed re- 
sistance in 1767, 100 ; defends the 
soldiers after the Massacre, 183 ; 
his excessive vehemence, 205 ; 
counsels moderation at the de- 
struction of the tea, 253 ; his un- 
timely death, 334; his brilliancy 
and limitations, 356. 

RANDOLPH, PEYTON, president of 
Continental Congress, 313. 

Read, Joseph, praises policy of ask- 
ing Rev. Mr. Duch6 to pray at 
opening of Congress, 316. 

Representation, theory of discussed, 
56 ; parliamentary, favored by 
Otis and others, opposed by Sam- 
uel Adams, 64, etc. ; supplanting 
democracy in some parts of Amer- 
ica, 430. 

Revere, Huguenot family, 5 ; Paul, 
carries news of the tea-party to 
Philadelphia, 256 ; the patriot 
Mercury, 272" carries Suffolk Re- 
solves to Philadelphia, 318 ; April 
19, 1775, 330 ; wins Samuel Adams 
to favor the federal constitution, 
396, 397. 

Right, petition of, of 1628, 30. 

Rights, Bill of, 1689, 30. 

Rivington, Tory, describes Samuel 
Adams and Hancock, 367. 

Robinson, commissioner of customs, 
assaults Otis, 148. 

Rockingham, Marquis of, premier, 

Romney, man-of-war, in Boston har- 
bor, 1768, 110. 

Rotch, Benjamin, owner of the Dart- 
mouth, 247 ; his visit to Hutchin- 
son at destruction of the tea, 253. 

Ruggles, Timothy, president of 
Stamp Act Congress, 72 ; opposes 
Whigs in 1768, 108 ; his character, 

Rush, Dr. Benjamin, and others ad- 
vise Massachusetts delegates to 
first Continental Congress, 313. 

Rutledge, Edward, and the Decla- 
ration of Independence, 348. 

SAGITTARIUS, Tory writer, on Boston 
town-meeting, 10. 

"Sam Adams regiments," arrival 
of, 126; their fine display, 127; 
their non-interference, 128, 155; 
at the Massacre, 160, etc. 

Scollay , John, selectman, at the tea- 
party, 255. 

Seabury, Rev. Mr., denounced by 
Samuel Adams, 135. 

Seeley, J. R., his "Expansion of 
England " quoted, 64. 

Sewall, Jonathan, able Tory writer, 

Sewall, Stephen, chief justice, 42. 

Shays's Rebellion, 389, etc. ; Sam- 
uel Adams opposes, 391. 

Sherman, Roger, early favors inde- 
pendence, 344; on committee to 
draft Declaration, 348. 

Shirley, Governor, hears Samuel 
Adams's Master of Arts oration, 
17 ; his military activity, 20 ; fa- 
vors the Stamp Act, 80. 

Shute, Governor, opposed Samuel 
Adams, Senior, 16; charter 
amended in time of, 24. 

Slavery, in Massachusetts, 7. 

Smith, Adam, favors parliamentary 
representation of the colonies, 64. 

Snyder, Christopher, death of, 159. 

Stamp Act, introduced, 50 ; goes 
into operation, 73 ; repeal of, 91. 

Stamp Act Congress, 72. 

Strong, Gov. Caleb, does honor to 
Samuel Adams, 411. 

Sugar Act, passage of, 28 ; enforce 
ment of, 40. 



Sullivan, Wm.. describes Governor 

Bowdoin, 391. 
Surry, negro servant of Samuel 

Adams, 306. 
Sylvester, Richard, his description 

of Samuel Adams, 117. 

TEA, duty on retained in 1769, 157 ; 
act for sending to America, May, 
1773, 236 ; destruction of, 243, etc. 

Temple, commissioner of customs, 
1767, 102. 

Thacher, Oxenbridge, in case of 
writs of assistance, 43 ; his death, 
54 ; abused by Otis, 149. 

Thurlow, Lord Chancellor, approves 
Hutchinson's course, 214 ; favors 
oppression of colonies, 267. 

Tories, to be judged compassion- 
ately, 274; their stake in the 
country, refinement, and real pa- 
triotism, 275 ; often of honorable 
note, 277 ; their arrogance at the 
coming of Gage, 291 ; their last 
effort to stem the Revolution, 
298; estimates of Samuel Adams 
by, 365, etc. ; Samuel Adams im- 
placable towards, 388. 

Towns hi Massachusetts at the Rev- 
olution, 2. 

Town-meetings, a revival of the 
Anglo-Saxon folk-mote, 1 ; descrip- 
tion of at the Revolution, 2 ; rela- 
tion of to the Assembly, 54, etc. ; 
reluctant to delegate power, 55 ; in 
Boston the most interesting man- 
ifestation in history of the folk- 
mote, Samuel Adams the man of, 
352 ; reports there is no defect in, 
389 ; influences at present modi- 
fying hi New England and else- 
where, foreign admixture, 419 ; 
the growth of cities, 420 ; descrip- 
tion of. to-day, 422 ; preciousness 
of, 427, 428 ; its decay, 429. 

Townshend, Charles, his three meas- 
ures affecting America, 99. 

Trade regulations, a cause of es- 
trangement, 29. 

Trowbridge, as attorney-general re- 
jected for the Council by the As- 
sembly, 95; as judge of the Su- 
perior Court, refuses royal grant, 

UNIFICATION, political, desirable, 65. 

VICE-ADMIRALTY, courts of, 24. 
Viom^nil, Baron, at Boston, 388. 
Virginia, resolves of 1769, 137 ; in- 

augurates intercolonial Commit- 
tees of Correspondence, 218 ; casts 
fifteen votes for Samuel Adams as 
President in the electoral college 
in 1796, 409. 
Virtual representation, 84. 

WARD, of Rhode Island, favors inde- 
pendence, 344. 

Warren, James, letter of Samuel 
Adams to, on the Massacre, 180 ; 
at election of delegates to first 
Continental Congress, 294 ; favors 
independence, 345. 

Warren, Joseph, arraigns Bernard 
in the Boston Gazette, 107 ; on 
town's committee at time of the 
Massacre, 171 ; vehement against 
the soldiers, 184 ; favors the Com- 
mittee of Correspondence, 197 ; 
drafts in part its manifesto, 201 ; 
his excessive vehemence, 204 ; at 
destruction of the tea, 244, 255; 
manages the Port Bill meeting, 
292; author of "Solemn League 
and Covenant " against using Brit- 
ish productions, 298 ; arranges for 
the Suffolk Convention in 1774, 
305; the Suffolk Resolves, 317; 
town-meeting of March 6, 1775, 
325, etc. ; becomes leader in Mas- 
sachusetts, 334; death and char- 
acter, 337, 338; does not desire 
independence, 345 ; his limita- 
tions, 356. 

Washington, nominated comman- 
der- in-chief, 335 ; treated cor- 
dially by Samuel Adams, 339; 
does not at first favor independ- 
ence, 345; compared with Sam- 
uel Adams, 374; Samuel Adams 
never his enemy, 377. 

Wells, Elizabeth, second wife of 
Samuel Adams, 50 ; her efficiency, 
50 ; letter to her husband, 342. 

Wilson, of Pennsylvania, opposes 
independence, 342. 

Wolcott, Oliver, favors independ- 
ence, 344. 

Writs of assistance, the case of, 41. 

Wyeth, of Virginia, favors independ- 
ence, 343. 

TONGB, C. D., English constitutional 
historian, on parliamentary right 
to tax, 85. 

Young, Arthur, on the Acts of Trade, 

Young, Dr. Thomas, at the destruc- 
tion of the tea, 255. 

American Statesmen. 

Series of Biographies of Men conspicuous in th. 
Political History of the United States. 



The object of this series is not merely to give a 
number of unconnected narratives of men in Ameri- 
can political life, but to produce books which shall, 
when taken together, indicate the lines of political 
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Thomas Jefferson. By JOHN T. MORSE, JR. 
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Albert Gallatin. By JOHN AUSTIN STEVENS. 
James Madison. By SYDNEY HOWARD GAY. 
John Adams. By JOHN T. MORSE, JR. 
John Marshall. By A. B. MAGRUDER. 
Samuel Adams. By JAMES K. HOSMER. 
Henry Clay. By Hon. CARL SCHURZ. 2 vols. 

Patrick Henry. By MOSES COIT TYLER. 

George Washington. By HENRY CABOT LODGE. 

2 vols. 
Martin Van Buren. By EDWARD M. SHEPARD. 

Others to be announced hereafter. Each volume, 
<6mo, gilt top, $1.25. 



That Mr. Morse's conclusions will in the main be those of 
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Mr. Morse has written closely, compactly, intelligently, fear- 
lessly, honestly. New York Times. 


The biography of Mr. Lodge is calm and dignified through- 
out. He has the virtue rare indeed among biographers 
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and the biography of Hamilton is a book which cannot have 
too many readers. It is more than a biography ; it is a study 
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Nothing can exceed the skill with which the political career 
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Prof. Sumner has, ... all in all, made the justest long esti- 
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book. New York Times. 

One of the most masterly monographs that we have ever had 
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The book has been to me intensely interesting. ... It 13 
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the already brilliant series of monographs on American States- 

Remarkably interesting. . . . The biography has all the ele- 
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In clearness of style, and in all points of literary workman- 
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The most readable of all the lives that have ever been written 
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The task has been achieved ably, admirably, and faithfully. 
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It is one of the most carefully prepared of these very valu- 
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Frank, simple, and straightforward. New York Tribune. 


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An able book. ... Mr. Gay writes with an eye single to truth. 
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A good piece of literary work. ... It covers the ground 
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A model of condensation and selection, as well as of graphic 
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Well done, with simplicity, clearness, precision, and judg- 
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A brilliant and enthusiastic book, which it will do every 
American much good to read. The Beacon ( Boston). 

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Mr. Frothingham's memoir is a calm and thoughtful 
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He has fulfilled his responsible task with admirable 
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York Evening Post. 

Here at last we have a biography of one of the noblest 
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He has filled a gap in our literary history with excel- 
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Mr. Higginson writes with both enthusiasm and sym- 
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Mr. Warner has not only written with sympathy, mi 
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for the rest of the series which is to pass under his 
supervision. New York Tribune. 

It is a very charming piece of literary work, and pre- 
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man and of his methods as an author, together with an 
accurate and discriminating characterization of his works. 
Boston Journal. 

It would hardly be possible to produce a fairer or more 
candid book of its kind. Literary World (London). 


Mr. Scudder's biography of Webster is alike honorable 
to himself and its subject. Finely discriminating in all 
that relates to personal and intellectual character, schol- 
arly and just in its literary criticisms, analyses, and 
estimates, it is besides so kindly and manly in its tone, its 
narrative is so spirited and enthralling, its descriptions 
are so quaintly graphic, so varied and cheerful in their 
coloring, and its pictures so teem with the bustle, the 
movement, and the activities of the real life of a by-gone 
but most interesting age, that the attention of the reader 
is never tempted to wander, and he lays down the book 
with a sigh of regret for its brevity. Harper's Monthly 

It fills completely its place in the purpose of this se- 
ries of volumes. The Critic (New York). 


Mr. Sanborn 's book is thoroughly American and truly 
fascinating. Its literary skill is exceptionally good, and 
there is a racy flavor in its pages and an amount of exact 
knowledge of interesting people that one seldom meets 
with in current literature. Mr. Sanborn has done Tho- 
reau's genius an imperishable service. American Church 
Review (New York). 

Mr. Sanborn has written a careful book about a curious 
man, whom he has studied as impartially as possible ; 
whom he admires warmly but with discretion ; and the 
story of whose life he has told with commendable frank- 
ness and simplicity. New York Mail and Express. 

It is undoubtedly the best life of Thoreau extant. 
Christian Advocate (New York). 


A biography of Emerson by Holmes is a real event in 
American literature. . . . He has brought Emerson him- 
self so near, and painted him for us with a pencil so 
loving and yet so just, that it will remain with many of 
us a question which shall be hereafter most dear to us, 
the man whom the artist thus reveals, or the artist him- 
self. Standard (Chicago). 

Dr. Holmes has written one of the most delightful 
biographies that has ever appeared. Every page sparkles 
with genius. His criticisms are trenchant, his analysis 
clear, his sense of proportion delicate, and his sympa- 
thies broad and deep. Philadelphia Press. 


Mr. Woodberry has contrived with vast labor to con- 
struct what must hereafter be called the authoritative 
biography of Poe a biography which corrects all others, 
supplements all others, and supersedes all others. The 
Critic (New York). 

The best life of Poe that has yet been written, and no 
better one is likely to be written hereafter. This is high 
praise, but it is deserved. Mr. Woodberry has spared no 
pains in exploring sources of information ; he has shown 
rare judgment and discretion in the interpretation of what 
he has found ; he has set forth everything frankly and 
fairly ; and he has brought to bear upon the critical part 
of his work a keen instinct, a well-informed mind, a sound 
judgment, and the utmost catholicity of spirit. Commer- 
cial Advertiser (New York). 


Prof. Beers has done his work sympathetically yet can- 
didly and fairly and in a philosophic manner, indicating 
the status occupied by Willis in the republic of letters, 
and sketching graphically his literary environment and 
the main springs of his success. It is one of the best 
books of an excellent series. Buffalo Times. 

The work is sober, frank, honest, trustworthy, and em- 
inently readable. The Beacon (Boston). 

A delightful biographical study. Brooklyn Union. 

* # * For sale by all Booksellers. Sent, post-paid, on receipt 
of price by the Publishers, 



This book is due on the last DATE stamped below. 

MAR 7 1973 

MAY 301975 




DEC 18 1985 

APR 5 '87 

APR 3 1987 RECTO 


E207.A2H83 1887 

3 2106 00059 1914