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

Give credit to whom credit due.

Every citizen will see ? and I hope deeply impressed with a sense of it ? how exceedingly important it is to himself, and how intimately the welfare of his children is connected with it, that those who are to have a share in making as well as in judging and executing the laws should be men of singular wisdom and integrity.

Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains.

Every wise governor will relinquish a power which is not clearly constitutional.

Everyone knows that the exercise of military power is forever dangerous to civil rights; and we have had recent instances of violences that have been offer'd to private subjects.

Everyone sees the necessity of this to preserve the balance of power and the freedom of any state: A power without a check, is subversive of all freedom.

First, the first fundamental, positive law of all commonwealths or states is the establishing the legislative power. As the first fundamental natural law, also, which is to govern even the legislative power itself, is the preservation of the society. Secondly, the Legislative has no right to absolute, arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people; nor can mortals assume a prerogative not only too high for men, but for angels, and therefore reserved for the exercise of the Deity alone. The Legislative cannot justly assume to itself a power to rule by extempore arbitrary decrees; but it is bound to see that justice is dispensed, and that the rights of the subjects be decided by promulgated, standing, and known laws, and authorized independent judges"; that is, independent, as far as possible, of Prince and people. "There should be one rule of justice for rich and poor, for the favorite at court, and the countryman at the plough. Thirdly, the supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part of his property, without his consent in person or by his representative.

For I have truly no property in that, which another can by right take from me when he pleases, against my consent.

For my own Part, I pay very little Regard to Addresses to Great Men: Whenever they appear to be but the Breath of Flattery, they must be offensive to the Ears of any Man who has the Feelings of Truth and Sincertiy in his own Breast.

For true patriots to be silent is dangerous.

Certainly no persons could be tho't blame-worthy, for pursuing a banditti, who had already put a number of peaceable people in great terror of their lives, with a design to prevent their doing further mischief...

Comtemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen and then ask yourself, What should be the reward of such sacrifices... If ye love wealth better than freedom, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands that feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Constitution be never construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.

Could I be assured that America would remain virtuous, I would venture to defy the utmost Efforts of Enemies to subjugate her.

Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.

Divine Revelation assures us that ?Righteousness exalteth a nation.? Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their character.

Encroachments on the peoples' liberties are not generally made all at once, but so gradually as hardly to be perceived by the less watchful; and all plaistered over, it may be, with such plausible pretenses, that before they are aware of the snare, they are taken and cannot disentangle themselves.

But an immoral man, for instance one who will commonly prophane the name of his maker, certainly cannot be esteemed of equal credit by a jury, with one who fears to take that sacred name in vain: It is impossible he should in the mind of any man...

But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. Here therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.

But the Language of the people is, In the Name of the Lord we will tread down our Enemies.

But the true patriot, will constantly be jealous of those very [governing] men: Knowing that power, especially in times of corruption, makes men wanton; that it intoxicates the mind; and unless those with whom it is entrusted, are carefully watched, such is the weakness or the perverseness of human nature, they will be apt to domineer over the people, instead of governing them, according to the known laws of the state, to which alone they have submitted.

But we want no excuse for any supposed mistakes of our ancestors. Let us first see it proved that they were mistakes. Till then we must hold ourselves obliged to them for sentiments transmitted to us so worthy of their character, and to important to our security.

But when state-lawyers, attorneys and solicitors general, & persons advanced to the highest stations in the courts of the law, prostitute the honor of the profession, become the tools of ministers [of state], and employ their talents for explaining away, if possible the Rights of a kingdom, they are then the proper objects of the odium and indignation of the public.

By the act of the British Parliament, commonly called the Toleration Act, every subject in England, except Papists, &c., was restored to, and re-established in, his natural right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. And, by the charter of this Province, it is granted, ordained, and established (that is, declared as an original right) that there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians, except Papists, inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within, such Province or Territory. Magna Charta itself is in substance but a constrained declaration or proclamation and promulgation in the name of the King, Lords, and Commons, of the sense the latter had of their original, inherent, indefeasible natural rights, as also those of free citizens equally perdurable with the other. That great author, that great jurist, and even that court writer, Mr. Justice Blackstone, holds that this recognition was justly obtained of King John, sword in hand. And peradventure it must be one day, sword in hand, again rescued and preserved from total destruction and oblivion.

All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity.

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