« ForrigeFortsett »
Congress, with Dr. Franklin and. Edward Rutledge, to meet. Lord Howe in conference upon Stäiên Tsiain, concerning the pacification of the colonies. According to his prediction, the mission failed. Notwithstanding his great labors in Congress,* he was appointed a member of the council of Massachusetts, while on a visit home, in 1776, the duties of which he faithfully fulfilled.
In 1777 Mr. Adams was appointed a special commissioner to the Court of France, whither Dr. Franklin had previously gone. Finding the subject of his mission fully attended to by Franklin, Adams returned home in 1779. He was immediately called to the duty of forming a Constitution for his native State. While in the discharge of his duty in convention, Congress appointed him a minister to Great Britain, to negotiate a treaty of
and commerce with that government. He left Boston in the French frigate, La Sensible, in October, 1777, and after a long passage, landed at Ferrol, in Spain, whence he journeyed by land to Paris. He found England indisposed for peace, if American Independence was to be the sine qua non, and was about to return home, when he received from Congress the appointment of commissioner to Holland, to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce with the States General. The confidence of Congress in him was unlimited, and he was intrusted at one time, with the execution of no less than six missions, each of a different character. * In 1781 he was associated with Franklin, Jay, and Laurens, as a commissioner to conclude treaties of peace with the European powers.
* During the remainder of the year 1776, and until December, 1777 (when he was sent on a foreign mission) he was a member of ninety different committees, and chairman of twenty-five !
† These commissions empowered him, 1st:.to negotiate a peace with Great Britain; 2d, to make a treaty of commerce with Great Britain; 3d, the same with the States General ; 4th, the same with the Prince of Orange ; 5th, to pledge the faith of the United States to the Armed Neutrality; 6th, to negotiate a loan of ten millions of dollars.
a Feb. 1780.
In 1782 he assisted in negotiating a commercial treaty with Great Britain, and was the first of the American Commissioners who signed the definitive treaty of peace b Sept. 3,
with that power. In 1784, Mr. Adams returned
to Paris, and in January, 1785, he was appointed Minister for the United States at the Court of Great Britain. That post he honorably occupied until 1788, when he resigned the office and returned home.
While Mr. Adams was absent, the Federal Constitution was adopted, and it received his hearty approval. He was placed upon the ticket with Washington for Vice President, at the first election under the new Constitution, and was elected to that office. He was re-elected to the same office in 1792, and in 1796, he was chosen to succeed Washington in the Presidential Chair. In 1801 he retired from public life.
In 1816 he was placed on the democratic ticket as presidential elector. In 1818 he lost his wife, with whom he had lived fifty-two years in uninterrupted conjugal felicity. In 1884 he was chosen a member of the convention of Massachusetts to revise the Constitution, and was chosen president of that body, which honor he declined on account of his great age. In 1825 he had the felicity of seeing his son elevated to the presidency of the United States. In the spring of 1826 his physical powers rapidly declined, and on the fourth of July of that year,* he expired, in the ninety-second year of his age. On the very same day, and at nearly the same hour, his fellowcommittee-man in drawing up the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, also died. It was the fiftieth anniversary of that glorious act, and the coincidence made a deep impression upon the public mind.
* On the morning of the fourth it was evident he could not last many hours. On being asked for a toast for the day, the last words he ever uttered – words of glorious import — fell from his lips : “ Independence for ever !"
his distinguished patriot of the Revolution, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the twenty-second of September, 1722. He was of pilgrim ancestors, and had been taught the principles of Freedom, from his in
fancy. His father was a man of considerable wealth, and was for a long series of years a member of the Massachusetts Assembly, under the Colonial Government. He resolved to give Samuel a liberal education. After a preparatory course of study, he entered him at Harvard College, Cambridge, where, in
1740, at the age of eighteen years, he took his degree of A. B. He was uncommonly sedate, and very assiduous in the pursuit of knowledge, while a pupil.
His father destined him for the profession of the law, but this design was relinquished, and he was placed as an apprentice with Thomas Cushing, a distinguished merchant of Boston, and afterward an active patriot. His mind, however, seemed fixed on political subjects,* and the mercantile profession presented few charms for him. His father furnished him with ample capital to commence business as a merchant, but his distaste for the profession, and the diversion of his mind from its demands, by politics, soon caused him serious embarrassments, and he became almost a bankrupt.
When Samuel was twenty-five years old, his father died, and the cares of the family and estate devolved on him, as the oldest son. Yet his mind was constantly active in watching the movements of the British government, and he spent a great deal of his time in talking and writing in favor of the resistance of the Colonies to the oppressions of the crown and its ministers. He took a firm and decided stand against the Stamp Act and its antecedent kindred schemes to tax the Colonies. As early as 1763, he boldly expressed his sentiments relative to the rights and privileges of the Colonists; and in some instructions which he drew up for the guidance of the Boston members of the General Assembly, in that year, he denied the right of Parliament to tax the Colonies without their consent - denied the supremacy of Parliament, and suggested a union of all the Colonies, as necessary for their protection against British aggressions. It is asserted that this was the first public expression of
* In connection with genial companions, he wrote a series of political essays for a newspaper called the “Independent Advertiser.” They incurred the nickname, by way of derision, of the “ Whipping Club."
such sentiments in America, and that they were the spark that kindled the flame upon the altar of Freedom here.
In 1765, Mr. Adams was chosen a representative for Boston, in the General Assembly, and became early distinguished in that body, for his intelligence and activity. He became a leader of the opposition to the royal governor, and treated with disdain the efforts made to silence him,* although the offers proffered would have placed him in affluent circumstances. He was chosen Clerk of the House of Representatives; and he originated the "Magsachusetts Circular,” which proposed a Colonial Congress to be held in New York, and which was held there in 1766.
During the excitement of the Boston Massacre, he was among the most active; and chiefly through his influence, and the boldness with which he demanded the removal of the troops from Boston, was that object effected.
Mr. Adams, and Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, almost simultaneously proposed the system of Committees of Correspondence, which proved such a mighty engine in bringing about a union of sentiment among the several Colonies previous to the bursting out of the Revolution. This, and other bold movements on his part, caused him to be selected as an object of ministerial vengeance, and when Governor Gage issued his proclamation, offering pardon to all who would return to their allegiance, Samuel Adams and John Hancock were alone excepted. This greatly increased their popu
* When the governor was asked why Mr. Adams had not been silenced by office, he replied, that “such is the obstinacy and inflexible disposition of the man, that he can never be conciliated by any office or gift whatever.” And when, in 1774, Governor Gage, by authorlty of ministers, sent Colonel Fenton to offer Ad ams a magnificent consideration if he would cease his hostility to government, or menace him with all the evils of attainder, that inflexible patriot gave this remarkable answer to Fenton : "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 country. Tell Governor Gage, it is the advice of Samuel Ad. ams to him, no longer to insult the feelings af an exasperated people."