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moulded. Whole cargoes were returned from New York and Philadelphia. When the news of the destruction of the tea reached England, they determined to punish the people of Boston. In 1774, a bill was passed in parliament, called the Boston Port Bill, to discontinue the landing or shipping of any goods, wares, or merchandize, at the harbour of that city. This was followed by an act authorising the quartering of soldiers in the houses of the citizens. General Gage, in character of commander in chief of the royal forces, and governor of Massachussetts, arrived at Boston, with a military force, to enforce the acts of the parliament.
The words whigs and tories were now introduced, to distinguish the names of the parties. By the former, were meant those who were for supporting the colonies in their opposition to the tyrannical acts of the British parliament. By the latter, those who were in favour of Great Britain and opposed to resistance.
During these commotions, the first Congress of delegates, chosen and appointed by the several colonies and provinces, met at Carpenter's Hall, in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th of September, 1774. Peyton Randolph, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and Charles Thompson, Secretary. On the 27th September, congress unanimously resolved, that from and after the 1st of December, 1774, there should be no importation from Great Britain or Ireland, of British goods. On the 8th of October, it was resolved that the congress approve the opposition of the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, to the execution of the obnoxious acts of Parliament. On the 22d of September, they passed a resolution recommending delegates to meet again at Philadelphia, on the 10th May, 1775. The congress was then dissolved.
On the 19th of April, 1775, the first battle was fought between the Americans and the king's troops, at Lexington, Massachusetts. The revolutionary war began with this battler; for here the first blood was spilt. The British had sixty five killed, one hundred and eighty wounded, and twenty eight made prisoners. Of the Americans, fifty one were killed, thirty eight wounded, and four were missing. At Lexington a monument has been erected to the memory of those who were killed in that town, with a suitable inscription on it, including the names of those who fell. The die was cast! the blood of these martyrs was the cement of the union of these states: the Americans rose as one man to revenge their brethren's blood, and at the point of the sword to assert and defend their native rights. Those who fell in this battle were revered by their countrymen, as martyrs who had died in the cause of liberty.
On the 10th May, 1775, the delegates from the several colonies, with the exception of Rhode Island, assembled at the state house in Philadelphia, when Peytou Randolph, was a second time unanimously elected president, and Charles Thompson, secretary. A few days after they met, Mr. Randolph being under the necessity of returning home, John Hancock, of Massachusetts, was unanimously elected president.
On the 17th of June, the memorable battle of Bunker's Hill took place, where the gallant resistance of a handful of undisciplined troops, taught a lesson to the British which they remembered during the contest.
In the same month Congress resolved to raise several companies of riflemen, &c. and that a general should be appointed to command all the continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty; and GEORGE WASHINGTON, was unanimously elected. Congress, at the same time, resolved, that they would maintain, assist, and adhere to George Washington, with their lives and fortunes.
On the first of August, Congress adjourned to meet on the 5th of September. On the 5th of September, 1775, Congress again convened, and proceeded to the important business entrusted to them. They provided for raising armies, building vessels of war, and authorised the capture of all ships and vessels belonging to the inhabitants of Great Britain. They also resolved that ten millions of dollars should be raised for the purpose of carrying on the war.
On the 10th of June, 1776, a motion was made by Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, seconded by John Adams, of Massachusetts, that a committee should be appointed to prepare a declaration to the following effect : “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connexion between them and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” The committee consisted of Mr. Jefferson, Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Sherman, and Mr. R. R. Livingston. Mr. Jefferson, though the youngest on the committee, was chairman, he having received one more vote than Mr. Adams.The committee met and appointed Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams, a sub-committee. Mr. Jefferson urged Mr. Adams to write the declaration, and Mr. Adams urged Mr. Jefferson to do it. Mr. Jefferson consented, and the next day submitted the original draft, as it was presented to Congress. On the first day of July, the committee reported the declaration to Congress, and it was discussed and amended on the second and third, and finally, on the fourth of July, the Declaration of Independence was agreed to and signed.
A NEW AMERICAN
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 till 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, “whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved?” He maintained the affirmative of this proposi. tion, 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 sum, to publish, at his own expense, a pamphlet, callcs - 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 commencer 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 at, tempts were proofs of his filial piety. By bis 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 bim 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 sucha 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 conver. sant 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 Bog. ton, 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 confederary 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 opposition, by destroying the stamped papers and oflice in Boston; but he highly disappraved of the riots and disorders which followed, and person. ally aided the civil power to put a stop to them.
The taxes upon tea, oil, and colours, were still more odious to the Americans than the stamp act; especially to the inhabitants of Boston, where the board of commissioners was established. The people looked to Mr. Adams as one of the champions of liberty, who must stand forth against every claim of Great Britain, and deny the right of the parent state to lay a tax; nor were they disappointed. He was so strenuous in his exertions to make the people sensible of their charter privileges, that he obtained the appellation of the patriot Samuel Adams.
In 1765, he was elected a member of the general assembly of Massachusetts. He was soon chosen clerk, and he gradually acquired influence in the legislature. This was an eventful time. But Mr. Adams possessed a courage which no dangers could shake. He was undismayed by the prospect, which struck terror into the hearts of many.
He was a member of the legislature near ten years, and he was the soul which animated it to the most important resolutions. No man did so much. He pressed his measures with ardour; yet he was prudent; he knew how to bend the passions of others to his purpose.
The congress which assembled at New York, at this period, Was attributed to a suggestion made by Mr. Adams. It has been said, with confidence, that he was the first man who proposed it in Massachusetts.