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upon which the security of the whole depends.”_ It will be remembered that the resolutions for the establishment of this institution in Virginia, were passed March 12, 1773, which was more than four months subsequently to the time it had been formed in Boston.
Every method had been tried to incluce Mr. Adams to abandon the cause of his country, which he had supported with so much zeal, courage, and ability. Threats and caresses had proved equally unavailing. Prior to this time there is no certain proof that any direct attempt was made upon his virtue and integrity, although a report had been publicly and freely circulated, that it had been unsuccessfully tried by governor Bernard. . Hutchinson knew him too well to make the attempt. But governor Gage was empowered to make the experiment. He sent to him a confidential and verbal message by colonel Fenton, who waited upon Mr. Adams, and after the customary salutations, he stated the object of his visit. He said that an adjustment of the disputes which existed between England and the colonies, and a reconciliation, was very desirable, as well as important to the interests of both. That he was authorized from govenor Gage to assure him, that he had been empowered to confer upon him such benefits as would be satisfactory, upon the condition, that he would engage to cease in his opposition to the measures of government. He also observed, that it was the advice of governor Gage, to him, not to incur the further displeasure of his inajesty; that his conduct had been such as made him liable to the penalties of an act of Henry VIII. by which persons could be sent to England for trial of treason, or misprison of treason, at the discretion of a governor of a province, but by changing his political course, he would not only receive great personal advantages, but would thereby make his peace with the king. Mr. Adams listened with apparent interest to this recital. He asked colonel Fenton if he would truly deliver his reply as it should be given. After some hesitation he assented. Mr. Adams required his word of honour, . which he pledged.
Then rising from his chair, and assuming a determined manner, he replied, “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 ADAMS TO HIM, no longer to insult the feelings of an exasperated people.”
With a full sense of his own perilous situation, marked out an object of ministerial vengeance, labouring under severe pecuniary embarrassment, but fearless of consequences, he steadily pursued the great object of his soul, the liberty of the people.
The time required bold and inflexible measures: Common distress required common counsel. The aspect was appalling to some of the most decided patriots of the day. The severity of punishment which was inflicted on the people of Boston, by the power of England, produced a melancholy sadness on the friends of American freedom. The Massachusetts house of Assembly was then in session at Salem. A committee of that body was chosen to consider and report the state of the province. Mr. Adams, it is said, observed, that some of the committee were for mild measures, which he judged no way suited to the present emergency. He conferred with Mr. Warren, of Plymouth, upon the necessity of spirited measures, and then said, “ do you keep the committee in play, and I will go and make a caucus by the time the evening arrives, and do you meet me.” Mr. Adams securcd a meeting of about five principal members of
the house at the time specified, and repeated his endeavours for the second and third nights, when the number amounted to more than thirty. The friends of the administration knew nothing of the matter. The popular leaders took the sense of the members in a private way, and found that they would be able to carry their scheme by a sufficient majority. They had their whole plan completed, prepared their resolutions, and then determined to bring the business forward; but, before they commenced, the door-keeper was ordered to let no person in, or suffer any one to depart. The subjects for discussion were then introduced by Mr. Adams, with his usual eloquence on such great occasions. He was chairman of the committee, and reported the resolutions for the appointment of delegates to a general congress to be convened at Philadelphia, to consult on the general safety of America. This report was received by surprise and astonishment by the administration party. Such was the ap. prehension of some, that they were apparently desirous to desert the question. The door-keeper seemed uneasy at his charge, and wavering with regard to the performance of the duty assigned to him. At this critical juncture, Mr. Adams relieved him, by taking the key and keeping it himself. The resolutions were passed, five delegates, consisting of Samuel Adams, Thomas Cushing, Robert Treat Paine, John Adams, and James Bowdoin, were appointed, the expense was estimated, and funds were voted for the payment. Before the business was finally closed, a member made a plea of indisposition, and was allowed to leave the house. This person went directly to the governor, and informed him of their highhanded proceedings. The governor immediately sent his secretary to dissolve the assembly, who found the door locked. He demanded entrance, but was answered, that his desire could not be
in the bounds
such pardon, San teise offences are o
of any other cons poishment. This Sitater honours on 1 which was within th jesty to bestow.
In a letter dated While he was in co Massachusetts, he sa 9 the necessity of a won of independence good reason can be a widen the breach? ton after we have ra with the British tror permitted the inhabit ammed vessels to cap
to the times in which he lived. The energy of his : language corresponded with the firmness and vigour of his mind. His heart glowed with the feelings of a patriot, and his eloquence: was simple, majestic and persuasive. He was one of the most efficient members of congress. He possessed keen penetration, unshaken fortitude, and permanent deeision.
After many unavailing efforts, both by threats and promises, to allure this inflexible patriot from his devotion to the sacred cause of independence, governor Gage, at length, on the 12th of June, issued that memorable proclamation, of which the following is an extract. “In this exigency of complicated calamities, I avail myself of the last effort within the bounds of my duty, to spare the further effusion of blood, to offer, and I do hereby in his majesty's name offer and promise, his most gra.. cious pardon to all persons, who shall forth with 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 punishment." This was a diploma, conferring greater honours on the individuals, than any other which was within the power of his Britannic majesty to bestow.
In a letter dated April, 1776, at Philadelphia, while he was in congress, to major Hawley of Massachusetts, he said, “I am perfectly satisfied of the necessity of a public and explicit declaration of independence. I cannot conceive, what good reason can be assigned against it. Will it. widen the breach? This would be a strange question after we have raised armies and fonght battles with the British troops; set up an American navy, permitted the inhabitants of these colonies to fit out armed vessels to capture the ships, &c. beloning