Samuel Adams

Samuel
Adams
1722
1803

American Statesman, Political Philosopher, Pamphleteer, Member of the Continental Congress, One of the Founding Fathers of the United States

Author Quotes

In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live. The Roman Catholics or Papists are excluded by reason of such doctrines as these, that princes excommunicated may be deposed, and those that they call heretics may be destroyed without mercy; besides their recognizing the Pope in so absolute a manner, in subversion of government, by introducing, as far as possible into the states under whose protection they enjoy life, liberty, and property, that solecism in politics, imperium in imperio, leading directly to the worst anarchy and confusion, civil discord, war, and bloodshed.

In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right than by taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators. In the last case, he must pay the referees for time and trouble. He should also be willing to pay his just quota for the support of government, the law, and the constitution; the end of which is to furnish indifferent and impartial judges in all cases that may happen, whether civil, ecclesiastical, marine, or military.

I mean, my friend, to let you know how deeply I am impressed with a sense of the importance of Amendments; that the good people may clearly see the distinction, for there is a distinction, between the federal powers vested in Congress and the sovereign authority belonging to the several States, which is the Palladium (the protection) of the private and personal rights of the citizens.

I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.

I would advise persisting in our struggle for liberty, though it were revealed from Heaven that nine hundred and ninety-nine men were to perish, and only one of a thousand to survive and retain his liberty. One such freeman must possess more virtue, and enjoy more happiness, than a thousand slaves.

If I have a wish dearer to my soul than that my ashes may be mingled with those of a Warren and a Montgomery, it is that these American States may never cease to be free and independent.

If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.

If our Trade be taxed, why not our Lands, or Produce in short, everything we possess? They tax us without having legal representation.

If taxes are laid upon us without our having a legal representation where they are laid, we are reduced from the character of free subjects to the state of tributary slaves.

I have thought fit, according to the ancient and laudable Practice of our renowned ancestors, to appoint a day of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING to God, for the great benefits which HE has been pleased to bestow upon us, in the Year past. And I do by advice and consent of the Council, appoint THURSDAY the Nineteenth day of November next, to be observed as a DAY of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE throughout this Commonwealth: Calling upon the Ministers of the Gospel of all Denominations, with their respective Congregations to assemble on that Day to offer to God, their unfeigned Gratitude, for his great Goodness to the People of the United States in general, and of this Commonwealth in particular.

I hope Congress, before they adjourn will take into very serious Consideration the necessary Amendments of the Constitution. Those whom I call the best - the most judicious & disinterested Federalists, who wish for the perpetual Union, Liberty & Happiness of the States & their respective Citizens, many of them if not all are anxiously expecting them. They wish to see a Line drawn as clearly as may be, between the federal Powers vested in Congress and the distinct Sovereignty of the several States upon which the private & personal Rights of the Citizens depend. Without such Distinction there will be Danger of the Constitution issuing imperceptibly and gradually into a consolidated Government over all the States: which, although it may be wished for by some was reprobated in the Idea by the highest Advocates for the Constitution as it stood without Amendments. I am fully persuaded that the population of the U S living different Climates, of different Education and Manners, and possessed of different Habits & feelings under one consolidated Government cannot long remain free, or indeed remain under any kind of Government but despotism

I hope my Countrymen have been wise in their Elections and I pray God to bless their Endeavors for the establishment of publick Liberty Virtue & Happiness.

Gladly would some, even of the Clergy, persuade this people to be at ease; and for the sake of peace...to acquiesce in unconstitutional revenue acts, arbitrary ministerial mandates, and absolute despotic independent governors, &c. &c.

Government was instituted for the purposes of common defence, and those who hold the reins of government have an equitable, natural right to an honorable support from the same principle that "the laborer is worthy of his hire." But then the same community which they serve ought to be the assessors of their pay. Governors have no right to seek and take what they please; by this, instead of being content with the station assigned them, that of honorable servants of the society, they would soon become absolute masters, despots, and tyrants. Hence, as a private man has a right to say what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a community to determine what they will give and grant of their substance for the administration of public affairs. And, in both cases, more are ready to offer their service at the proposed and stipulated price than are able and willing to perform their duty. In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men ? to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defense of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

Great pains we know are taken perswade and assure us, that as long as we continue quiet, nothing will be done to our prejudice: But let us beware of these soothing arts. - Has anything been done for our relief? - Has any one grievance which we have complained of been redressed?

Had the Body of this People shown a proper Resentment, at the time when the pround Taskmasters first made their appearance, we should never have seen Pensioners multiplying like the Locusts in Egypt, which devoured every green Thing.

He who should not have employed bad Men, or at least should have restrained or punished them, incurred the same Censure as if he himself had done it!

Hence as a private man has a right to say what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a Community to determine what they will give and grant of their substance for the Administration of public affairs.

I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.

I believe that no people ever yet groaned under the heavy yoke of slavery but when they deserved it.

I confess, I have a strong desire that our Colony should excell in Wisdom and Virtue

I could dwell on the importance of piety and religion; of industry and frugality; of prudence, economy, regularity and an even government; all which are essential to the well-being of a family. But I have not Time. I cannot however help repeating Piety, because I think it indispensible. Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament & its best Security. The first Point of Justice, says a Writer I have met with, consists in Piety; Nothing certainly being so great a Debt upon us, as to render to the Creator & Preserver those Acknowledgments which are due to Him for our Being, and the hourly Protection he affords us.

I have long been convinced that our Enemies have made it an Object, to eradicate from the Minds of the People in general a Sense of true Religion & Virtue, in hopes thereby the more easily to carry their Point of enslaving them.

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of?to offer humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot of remembrance?and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Author Picture
First Name
Samuel
Last Name
Adams
Birth Date
1722
Death Date
1803
Bio

American Statesman, Political Philosopher, Pamphleteer, Member of the Continental Congress, One of the Founding Fathers of the United States