Samuel Adams

SAMUEL ADAMS was one of the most remarkable men connected with the American revolution. He was descended from a family that had been among the early planters of New England, was born in Boston, September 27, 1722, was educated at Harvard college, and received its honors in 1740. When he took the degree of master, in 1743, he proposed the following question: Whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the commonwealth cannot be otherwise preserved?' He maintained the affirmative, and this collegiate exercise furnished a very significant index to his subsequent political career. On leaving the university, he engaged in the study of divinity, with the intention of becoming a clergyman, but did not pursue his design. From his earliest youth, his attention was drawn to political affairs, and he occupied himself, both in conversation and writing, with the political concerns of the day. He was opposed to governor Shirley, because he thought too much power was conferred upon him, and was the friend of his successor, Pownal, as the latter assumed the popular side. He became so entirely a public man, and discovered such a jealous, watchful and unyielding regard for popular rights, that he excited the general attention of the patriotic party, and they took the opportunity, in the year 1766, to place him in the legislature. From that period till the close of the revolutionary war, he was one of the most unwearied, efficient, and disinterested assertors of American freedom and independence. He grew conspicuous very soon after his admission into the house, of which he was chosen clerk, it being then the practice to take that officer from among the members. He obtained the same kind of influence, and exercised the same indefatigable activity in the affairs of the legislature, that he did in those of his town. He was upon every committee, had a hand in writing or revising every report, a share in the management of every political meeting, private or public, and a voice in all the measures that were proposed, to counteract the tyrannical plans of the administration. The people soon found him to be one of the steadiest of their supporters, and the government was convinced that he was one of the most inveterate of its opponents. When his character was known in England, and it was also understood that he was poor, the partisans of the ministry, who felt annoyed by the disturbances in America,' resorted to the usual practice, when the clamorous grow too troublesome, and proposed that he should be quieted by a participation in some of the good things they were enjoying. Governor Hutchinson, in answering the inquiry of a friend, why he was not silenced in this manner, wrote, with an expression of impatient vexation - ' Such is the obstinacy and inflexible disposition of the man, that he never can be conciliated by any office or gift whatever.'