« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
While I repeat my obligations to the army in general, I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge in this place, the peculiar services and distinguished merits of the persons who have been attached to my person during the war. It was impossible the choice of confidential officers to compose my family could have been more fortunate. Permit me, sir, to recommend in particular, those who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favourable notice and patronage of congress.
I consider it as an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them to his holy keeping.
Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action; and, bidding an affectionate farewell to this. august body, under whose orders I have long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.
The Answer of General Mifflin, the President of
Congress, to the foregoing Speech. SIR-The United States in congress assembled, receive with emotions too affecting for utterance, the solemn resignation of the authorities under which you have led their troops with success, through a perilous and doubtful war.
Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights, you accepted the sacred charge before it had formed alliances, and whilst it was without friends or a government to support you.
You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, invariably regarding
the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes: you have, by the love and confidence of your fellow citizens, enabled them to display their martial genius, and transmit their fame to posterity; you have persevered, till these United States, aided by a magnanimous king and nation, have been enabled, under a just Providence, to close the war in safety, freedom, and independence; on which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations.
Having defended the standard of liberty in this new world; having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict, and to those who feel oppression, you retire from the great theatre of actionwith the blessing of your fellow citizens; but the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command; it will continue to animate remotest ages. We feel, with yon, our obligations to the army in general, and will particularly charge ourselves with the interest of those confidential offi. cers, who have attended your person to this affecting moment.
We join you in commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, beseeching Him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens, to improve the opportunity afforded them, of becoming a happy and repectable nation; and for you, we address to Him our earnest prayers, that a life so beloved may be foştered with all His care: That your days may be happy, as they have been illustrious, and that He will finally give you that reward which the world.can
ADAMS, SAMUEL, one of the most distinguished patriots of the American revolution, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 22d of September, 1722. His ancestors were among the first settlers in New England. His parents were highly respectable. His father was, for many years, a representative for the town of Boston, in the Massachusetts house of Assembly, in which he was annually elected fill his death.
Samuel Adams received the rudiments of a liberal education at the grammar school under the care of Mr. Lovell, where he was remarkably attentive to his studies. His conduct was similar while he was at college, and during the whole term he had to pay but one fine, and this was for not attending morning prayers, in consequence of having overslept himself. By a close and steady application, he made considerable proficiency in classical learning, logic, and natural philosophy ; but as he was designed for the ministry, a profession to which he seems to have been much inclined, his studies were particularly directed to systematic divinity. Why Mr. Adams did not assume the clerical character, so congenial to his views and habits does not appear.
In 1740, and 1743, the respective degrees of bachelor and master of arts were conferred upon him. On the latter occasion, he proposed the following question for discussion, 16 whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved?” He maintained the affirmative of this proposition, and thus evinced, at this period of his life, his attachment to the liberties of the people. While he was a student, his father allowed him a regular stipend. Of this, he saved a sufficient snm, to publish, at his own expense, a pamphlet, called * Englishmen's Rights."
He was put an apprentice to the late Thomas Cushing, an eminent merchant. For this profession he was ill adapted, and it received but a small share of his attention. The study of politics was his chief delight. At this time he formed a club, each member of which agreed to furnish a political essay for a newspaper called the Independent Advertiser. These essays brought the writers into notice, who were called, in derision, “the Whipping Post Club."
His limited knowledge of commerce rendered him incompetent to support himself by that pursuit. His father, however, gave him a considerable capital, with which he commenced business. He had not been long in trade when he credited one of his countrymen with a sum of money. This person, soon after, met with heavy calamities, which he represented to Mr. Adams, who never demanded the amount, although it was nearly half the value of his original stock. This, and other losses, soon consumed all he had.
At the age of twenty-five, his father died, and, as he was the oldest son, the care of the family and management of the estate, devolved upon him.
Early distinguished by talents, as a writer, his first attempts were proofs of his filial piety. By his efforts he preserved the estate of his father, which had been attached on account of an engagement in the land bank bubble. He became a political writer during the administration of Shirley, to which he was opposed, as he thought the union of so much civil and military, power, in one man, was dangerous. His ingenuity, wit, and profound argument, are spoken of with the highest respect by those who were contemporary with
him. At this early period he laid the foundation of public confidence and esteem.
It may be proper to mention that his first office in the town was that of tax-gatherer, which the opposite party in politics often alluded to, and in their controversies would style him Samuel the
Publican. While the British regiments were in town, the tories enjoyed a kind of triumph, and invented every mode of burlesquing the popular leaders: but, where the people tax themselves, the office of collector is respectable; it was, at that time, given to gentlemen who had seen better days, and needed some pecuniary assistance, having merited the esteem and confidence of their fellow townsmen. Mr. Adams was ill qualified to fill an office which required such constant attention to pecuniary matters; and, his soul being bent on politics, he passed more time in talking against Great Britain than in collecting the sums due to the town. He grew embarrassed in his circumstances, and was assisted, not only by private friends, but by many others who knew him only as a spirited partisan in the cause of liberty.
From this time, the whigs were determined to support him to the utmost of their power. He had been always on their side, was firm and sagacious, one of the best writers in the newspapers, ready upon every question, but especially conversant with all matters which related to the dispute between Great Britain and the colonies.
We have said that there was a private political club in Boston, where decisive measures originated, which gave a secret spring and impulse to the motions of the public body, and that Mr. Adams was one of the patriotic conclave. This confederacy came to a determination to resist every infringement of their rights. The stamp act was a flagrant violation of them, and to suffer it quietly to be carried into effect, would establish a precedent, and encourage further proceedings of a similar nature. Mr. Adams was one of those who opposed it in every step He was not averse to the manner in which the people evinced their determinate opposi. tion, by destroying the stamped papers and office in Boston; but he highly disapproved of the riots and