Genealogy Trails

Biographies of the
Signers of the Declaration of Independence



The following facts gleaned from a publication, in the Salem Register which may be found in our paper of this day, cannot but be deemed interesting as they relate to the Fathers of the Nation. It appears that of the fifty-seven men who signed the Declaration of Independence, the birth places of four are unknown. Ten were natives of Massachusetts; nine of Virginia, seven of Pennsylvania, five of South Carolina; four of Maryland; three of New Jersey; three of Connecticut; two of New York; two of Delaware; two of Rhode Island; two of England; two of Scotland; one of Ireland and one of Wales. The youngest man who signed the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, then aged twenty-six years and the oldest man who signed it was Benjamin Franklin, then aged seventy years. What a splendid career of usefulness he ran after three score and ten! The average age of all the persons who signed the Declaration at the time of signing was a fraction more than forty-four years.

Thomas Lynch, Jr. of South Carolina was but twenty-seven when he signed the Declaration and died in the thirtieth year of his age, being the youngest man who died after having signed that most important of all State Papers. It is remarkable that the three youngest men in Congress, July 4, 1776 were all South Carolinians; their ages averaging but twenty-seven years and a third, while that of the whole assembly, their own included, averaged more than forty-four years. The average age of the persons who signed the Declaration of Independence at the time of their death was sixty-six years and nearly a half year. The one who lived to the greatest age was William Ellery of Rhode Island who lived to be ninety-two. The only one of them now alive, Charles Carroll – Health and peace to the evening of his days! – is now in his ei ghty-eighth year.

It is not out of place nor unworthy of remark to say that an examination of the signatures of those fifty-seven gentlemen, subscribed to the Declaration, will exhibit many excellent specimens of penmanship. It is doubtful whether to any State paper in any country can be found so many well written names. – Democratic Press.

Facts of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
(From the Salem Massachusetts Register)

Button Gwinnett - Killed in a duel

Philip Livingston, John Hart - Died whilst attending Congress

Thomas Lynch - Took passage for his health to St. Eustatia and was never heard from – was spoken the day before a tremendous hurricane.

Joseph Hewes – The first who answered Yea, when the question was taken on Independence and the first who signed the Declaration after the President.

John Hancock - President

George Wythe - Poisoned

Henry Wisner – Voted for Independence but was not present when the Declaration was signed.
[Source: Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania August 23, 1826 -- Transcribed by N. Piper]

George ReadCaesar RodneyThomas McKean

George ClymerBenjamin FranklinRobert MorrisJohn MortonBenjamin RushGeorge RossJames Smith

James WilsonGeorge Taylor

John AdamsSamuel AdamsJohn HancockRobert Treat PaineElbridge Gerry

New Hampshire:
Josiah BartlettWilliam WhippleMatthew Thornton

Rhode Island:
• Stephen Hopkins • William Ellery

New York:
• Lewis Morris • Philip Livingston • Francis Lewis • William Floyd  (NEW)

• Button Gwinnett • Lyman Hall • George Walton

• Richard Henry Lee • Francis Lightfoot Lee • Carter Braxton • Benjamin Harrison • Thomas Jefferson • George Wythe • Thomas Nelson, Jr.

North Carolina:
• William Hooper • John Penn • Joseph Hewes

South Carolina:
Edward RutledgeArthur Middleton • Thomas Lynch, Jr. • Thomas Heyward, Jr.

New Jersey:
• Abraham Clark • John Hart • Francis Hopkinson • Rich ard Stockton • John Witherspoon

• Samuel Huntington • Roger Sherman • William Williams • Oliver Wolcott

• Charles Carroll • Samuel Chase • Thomas Stone • William Paca

Arthur Middleton
Arthur Middleton was the son of Henry Middleton, and was born in the year 1743, at the seat of his father, at Middleton place, near the banks of the Ashley.
At the early age of twelve years, he was sent to the celebrated school of Hackney, in the neighborhood of London; whence, after spending two years, he was removed to the school of Westminster. The advantages which he here enjoyed resulted in a thorough acquaintance with the Greek and Roman classics, especially in a knowledge of the former, In which he is said to have greatly excelled. The taste which he acquired for classical literature he preserved through life, and from the indulgence of it derived an exalted pleasure, lost to minds of a heavier mold.
At the age of eighteen or nineteen, young Middleton became a member of one of the colleges of the university of Cambridge. Having for his companions young men frequently of dissipated habits, he was often powerfully tempted to enter into their youthful follies; but fortunately he escaped the contagion of their pernicious examples, and devoted that leisure to the improvement of his mind, which the less reflecting devoted to amusements and vicious indulgence. In his twenty-second year, he was graduated bachelor of arts, and left the university with the reputation of an accomplished scholar, and a moral man.
By means of his father's liberality, he was now enabled to travel. After visiting several parts of England, he proceeded to the continent, where he spent two years, chiefly in the southern parts of Europe. At Rome, he passed several months in viewing the various objects of taste afforded by that ancient and splendid spot. He here greatly improved his taste for music and painting; and even became well versed in the principles of sculpture and architecture.
Soon after his return to South Carolina, he was connected in marriage with the daughter of Walter Izzard, Esq. Having still a fondness for traveling, he, soon after his marriage, again embarked on a visit to Europe, accompanied by his wife. In this tour he visited many places in England, whence proceeding to the continent, they passed through several of the principal cities of France and Spain. In 1773, Mr. Middleton once more returned to America, and now settled down on the delightful banks of the Ashley.
The father of Mr. Middleton was, at this time, a man of great wealth, and both by himself and family the approaching controversy between Great Britain and her American colonies might have been viewed with great concern, had not the patriotism with which they were imbued much preferred the welfare of their country, to their private interests. A rupture with the mother country would necessarily put to hazard the wealth which had long been enjoyed by the family, and might abridge that influence, and diminish those comforts, which that wealth naturally gave them. But what were these in comparison with the rights and liberties of a country, destined to embrace millions within its bosom? Between the alternatives presented, there was no room to hesitate. Both father and son, in the spirit which had long characterized the family, stood forth in the defense of the rights of America, and, "left not a hook to hang a doubt on," that they were patriots of the noblest stamp.
In the spring of 1775, Mr. Arthur Middleton was chosen on a secret committee, who were invested with authority to place the colony in a state of defense. In the exercise of the trust with which they were charged, they immediately took possession of the public magazine of arms and ammunition, and removed its contents to a place of safety.
In the following June, the provincial congress of South Carolina proceeded to appoint a council of safety, consisting of thirteen persons. This council, of which Mr. Middleton was a member, took measures to organize a military force, the officers of which received commissions at their hands, and under their signatures. Among the members of this committee, no one exhibited more activity, or manifested a greater degree of resolution and firmness, than did Arthur Middleton.
In February, 1776, the provincial legislature of South Carolina appointed a committee to prepare and report a constitution, which "should most effectually secure peace and good order in the colony, during the continuance of the dispute with Great Britain." This duty was assigned to Mr. Middleton and ten others.
Having discharged the duty to the satisfaction of the assembly, Mr. Middleton was soon after elected by that body a representative of South Carolina in the congress of the United States, assembled at Philadelphia. Here he had an opportunity of inscribing his name on the great charter of American liberties. At the close of the year 1777, Mr. Middleton relinquished his seat in Congress, and returned to South Carolina, leaving behind him, in the estimation of those who had been associated with him in the important measures of congress, during the time he had been with them, the character of a man of the purest patriotism, of sound judgment, and unwavering resolution.
In the spring of 1778, the assembly of South Carolina proceeded to the formation of a new constitution, differing, in many important points, from that of 1776. On presenting it to the governor, John Rutledge, for his approbation, that gentleman refused to assent to it. But, as he would not embarrass the assembly in any measures which they might deem it expedient to adopt, he resigned the executive chair, upon which the assembly proceeded by a secret ballot again to fill it. On counting the votes, it was found that Mr. Middleton was elected to the office by a considerable majoritv. But, entertaining similar views in respect to the constitution, expressed by the distinguished gentleman who had vacated the chair of state, he frankly avowed to the assembly, that he could not conscientiously accept the appointment, under the constitution which they had adopted. The candor with which he had avowed his sentiments, and the sterling integrity of the man, exhibited in refusing an honor from conscientious scruples, instead of diminishing their respect for him, contributed to raise him still higher in the confidence of his fellow-citizens. The assembly proceeded to another choice, and elected Mr. Rawlins Lowndes to fill the vacancv, who gave his sanction to the new constitution.
During the year 1779, the southern states became the principal theater of the war. Many of the plantations were wantonly plundered, and the families and property of the principal inhabitants were exposed to the insults and ravages of the invaders. During these scenes of depredation, Middleton place did not escape. Although the buildings were spared , they were rifled of every thing valuable. Such articles as could not easily be transported were either wantonly destroyed, or greatly injured. Among those which were injured, was a valuable collection of paintings belonging to Mr. Middleton. Fortunately, at the time the marauders visited Middleton place, the family had made their escape a day's journey to the north of Charleston. On the investment of the latter place, in the following year, Mr. Middleton was present, and actively engaged in the defense of the city. With several others on the surrender of this place, he was taken prison, and was sent by sea to St. Augustine, in East Florida, where he was kept in confinement for nearly a year. At length, in July, 1781, he was exchanged, and proceeded in a cartel to Philadelphia. On his arrival at the latter place, Governor Rutledge, in the exercise of authority conferred upon him by general assembly of South Carolina, appointed him a representative in congress. To this office he was again elected in 1782; but in the month of November of that year, he returned to South Carolina on a visit to his family, from whom he had been separated during a long and anxious period.
On the signing the preliminaries of peace, Mr. Middleton declined accepting a seat in congress, preferring the pleasures of retirement with his family, to any honor which could be conferred upon him. He occasionally, however, accepted of a seat in the state legislature, in which he was greatly instrumental in promoting the tranquillity and happiness of his fellow-citizens.
The life of Mr. Middleton was terminated on the 1st of January, 1787. His death was occasioned by an intermittent fever, which he took in the preceding month of November, by an injudicious exposure to the unsettled weather of the autumnal season.
In his person, Mr. Middleton was of ordinary size, symmetrically proportioned, with fine features, and countenance expressive of firmness and decision.

Edward Rutledge
Edward Rutledge, the first of the South Carolina delegation, who affixes his name to the Declaration of Independence, was born in the city of Charleston, November, 1749. He was the youngest, son of Doctor John Rutledge, who emigrated from Ireland to South Carolina, about the year 1755. His mother was Sarah Hert, a lady of respectable family, and large fortune. At the age of twenty-seven, she became a widow with seven children. Her eldest son was John Rutledge, distinguished for his patriotic zeal during the revolution. Her youngest son was the subject of the present memoir. Of the early years of Edward Rutledge we have little to record. He was placed under the care of David Smith, of New-Jersey, by whom he was instructed in the learned languages; but he appears not to have made as rapid attainments as some others, although, as a scholar, he was respectable. Before he had devoted as
much time to academic studies, as would have been desirable, he commenced the study of law with his elder brother, who, at that time, was becoming the most eminent advocate at the Charleston bar. Although at this time he was still young, he was capable of appreciating the advantages which he enjoyed, and was strongly impelled to exertion, by the brilliant and successful example which his
brother held constantly before him.
In 1769, at the age of twenty years, he sailed for England, to complete his legal education. He became a student at the Temple. He derived great advantage from an attendance upon the English courts, and houses of parliament. In the latter place, be had an opportunity of listening to the eloquence of some of the most distinguished orators who lived at that day. In 1773, he returned to his native country, and entered upon the duties of his profession. He was at this time distinguished for his quickness of apprehension,
fluency of speech, and graceful delivery. Hence he early excited the admiration of those who heard him, and gave promise of that future eminence to which he was destined to arrive.
The general esteem in which be was held, was evinced in 1774, by his appointment to the distinguished congress which assembled at Philadelphia in that year. He was at this time but twenty-five years of age. It was a high honor for so young a man to be called to serve in the national council, with men of exalted powers and pre-eminent experience. It furnished unquestionable proof of the estimation in which he, was held, and strong presumptive evidence that this estimation of his talents and moral worth was not unjust. As the proceedings of the congress of 1774 were conducted with closed doors, and an injunction of secrecy laid upon
its members, it is impossible, at this day, to ascertain the precise share of influence which the individual members exerted, on all the measures which they advocated. Mr. Rutledge was, however, with the other delegates of South Carolina, formally thanked by the provincial congress, for the spirited and independent course he had pursued, and was again elected to the important
station which he held. In the congress of 1776, he took an active part in the discussions which preceded the declaration of independence. He is said to have proposed some alterations in the original draught of that celebrated instrument: but the
precise nature of them it is now impossible to ascertain. The merit of the instrument doubtless wholly belongs to Mr. Jefferson. Some alterations, indeed, were made in it; but they were chiefly verbal, while the spirit and texture remained untouched.
At a subsequent date, Mr. Rutledge was appointed, with Dr. Franklin and John Adams, as commissioners to wait upon Lord Howe, who had requested congress to appoint such a committee to enter with him into negotiations for peace. In a former page we had occasion to allude to the appointment of these commissioners, and to state that the conference was productive of no beneficial results.
On the breaking up of the conference, Lord Howe dispatched his own barge to convey the commissioners from Long Island to New York. A little before reaching the shore, Doctor Franklin, putting his hand in his pocket, began chinking some gold and silver coin. This, when about leaving the boat, he offered to the sailors, who had rowed it. The British officer, however, who commanded the boat, prohibited the sailors accepting it. After the departure of the boat, one of the commissioners inquired why he had offered money to the sailors. "Why," said the doctor, in reply, "the British think we have no hard money in the colonies, and I thought I would show them to the contrary. I risked nothing," added he, "for I knew that the sailors would not be permitted to accept it." Mr. Rutledge was again appointed to congress, in the year 1779; but in consequence of ill health he was unable to reach the seat of government, and
returned home. In 1780, during the investment of Charleston by the British, Mr. Rutledge was taken prisoner by the enemy, and sent to St. Augustine as a prisoner, where be was detained nearly a year before he was exchanged. Soon after his exchange was effected, he landed at Philadelphia, near which he resided, until a short time before the city of Charleston was evacuated by the British, when he returned to the place of his nativity, and to the enjoyment of the society of his friends and relations. From this period, for the space of seventeen years, Mr. Rutledge was successfully engaged in the practice of his profession, and from time to time in important services which he rendered to the state, as a member of her legislature. In 1798, he relinquished his station at the bar, and was elected the chief magistrate of South Carolina. His constitution, however, became much impaired in consequence of severe and repeated attacks of the gout, to which he was subject. He continued, however, to perform his official duties until within a short time before his death. This event is supposed to have been somewhat hastened, by a necessary attendance upon the sitting of the legislature at Columbia, and an unfortunate exposure to rain and cold during his return from the latter place to Charleston. On reaching home, he was confined by a severe illness, which terminated his life on the 23d day of January, 1800. The death of Mr. Rutledge was felt to be a severe loss, both by the people of Charleston and by the state at large. Few men were more deservedly respected; no
one could be more generally beloved. Military and other funeral honors were paid to him on the occasion of his being carried to his long home; and the universal regret expressed at his departure, showed full well how sincerely he was lamented.
Both in his public and private character, Mr. Rutledge was adorned with many virtues. In his disposition, be was uncommonly benevolent; he entered with great feeling into the sufferings of his fellow men, and felt it not only his duty, but his pleasure, to administer to their necessities. His deeds of kindness were many, were widely extended, and are still remembered with affection and
As an orator, he was deservedly eminent. He had faults indeed, both in point of manner and style, being too studied in respect to the former, and too metaphorical, and sometimes inaccurate, in respect to the latter. He also, it is said, addressed himself rather to the passions than to the understanding; yet, with these faults there were few speakers who commanded greater attention, or were more successful. He was less impetuous, and perhaps less commanding, than his brother John Rutledge; but he possessed more of the style of Cicero. There was a suavity in his manner, a conciliatory attraction in his arguments, which had frequently the effect of subduing the prejudices of the unfriendly, and which seldom failed to increase the ardor and inflexibility of steady friends. The eloquence of John Rutledge, like that of Patrick Henry of Virginia, was as a mountain torrent; that of Edward Rutledge, that of a smooth stream gliding along the plain; the former hurried you forward with a resistless impetuosity; the latter conducted you with fascinations, that made every progressive step appear enchanting. In his person, Mr. Rutledge was above the middle size, and of a florid, but fair
complexion. His countenance expressed great animation; and, on account of his intelligent and benevolent aspect, was universally admired.
On his return from Europe, Mr. Rutledge married the daughter of Henry Middleton, by whom he left a son, Major Henry M. Rutledge, of Tennessee; and a daughter, who, it is believed, now resides at Charleston. Upon the death of his first wife, he married the widow of Nicholas Eveleigh, comptroller of the treasury of the United States, in the time of Washington's administration. This lady is supposed to be still living [in 1829].

The events leading to the declaration of independence, which have been rapidly passed in review, in the preceding pages, have brought us to the more particular notice of those distinguished men, who signed their names to that instrument, and thus identified themselves with the glory of this American republic.

If the world has seldom-witnessed a train of events of a more novel and interesting character, than those which led to the declaration of American independence, it has, perhaps, never seen a body of men, placed in a more difficult and responsible situation, than were the signers of that instrument. And certainly, the world has never witnessed a more brilliant exhibition of political wisdom, or a brighter example of firmness and courage.

The first instant the American colonies gave promise of future importance and respectability, the jealousy of Great Britain was excited, and the counsels of her statesmen were employed to keep them in humble subjection. This was the object, when royalty grasped at their charters; when restrictions were laid upon their commerce and manufactures ; when, by taxation, their resources were attempted to be withdrawn, and the doctrine inculcated, that it was rebellion for them to think and act for themselves.

It was fortunate for the Americana, that they understood their own rights, and had the courage to assert them. But even at the time of the declaration of independence, just as was the cause of the colonies, it was doubtful how the contest would terminate. The chance of eventual success was against them. Less than three millions of people constituted their population, and these were scattered over a widely extended territory. They were divided into colonies, which had no political character, and no other bond of union than common sufferings, common danger, and common necessities. They had no veteran army, no navy, no arsenals filled with the munitions of war, and no fortifications on their extended coast. They had no overflowing treasuries; but in the outset, were to depend upon loans, taxation, and voluntary contributions.

Thus circumstanced, could success in such a contest be reasonably anticipated? Could they hope to compete with the parent country, whose strength was consolidated by the lapse of centuries, and to whose wealth and power so many millions contributed? That country directed, in a great measure, the destinies of Europe: her influence extended to every quarter of the world. Her armies were trained to the art of war; her navy rode in triumph on every sea; her statesmen were subtle and sagacious; her generals skilful and practiced. And more than all, her pride was aroused by the fact, that all Europe was an interested spectator of the scene, and was urging her forward to vindicate the policy she had adopted, and the principles which she had advanced.

But what will not union and firmness, valor and patriotism, accomplish? What will not faith accomplish? The colonies were, indeed, aware of the crisis at which they had arrived. They saw the precipice upon which they stood. National existence was at stake. Life, and liberty, and peace, were at hazard; not only those of the generation which then existed, but of the unnumbered millions which were yet to be born. To heaven they could, with pious confidence, make their solemn appeal. They trusted in the arm of Him, who had planted their fathers in this distant land, and besought Him to guide the men, who in his providence were called to preside over their public councils.

It was fortunate for them, and equally fortunate for the cause of rational liberty, that the delegates to the congress of 1776, were adequate to the great work which devolved upon them. They were not popular favorites, brought into notice during a season of tumult and violence; nor men chosen in times of tranquility, when nothing is to be apprehended from a mistaken selection. "But they were men to whom others might cling in times of peril, and look up to in the revolution of empires; men whose countenances in marble, as on canvass, may be dwelt upon by after ages, as the history of the times." They were legislators and senators by birth, raised up by heaven for the accomplishment of a special and important object; to rescue a people ;groaning under oppression ; and with the aid of their illustrious compeers, destined to establish rational liberty on a new basis, in an American republic.

They, too, well knew the responsibility of their station, and the fate which awaited themselves, if not their country, should their experiment fail. They came, therefore, to the question of a declaration of independence, like men who had counted the cost; prepared to rejoice, without any unholy triumph, should God smile upon the transaction; prepared also, if defeat should follow, to lead in the way to martyrdom.

A signature to the declaration of independence, without reference to general views, was, to each individual, a personal consideration of the most momentous import. It would be regarded in England as treason, and expose any man to the halter or the block. The only signature, which exhibits indications of a trembling hand, is that of Stephen Hopkins, who had been afflicted with the palsy. In this work of treason, John Hancock led the way, as president of the congress, and by the force with which he wrote, he seems to have determined that his name should never be erased. Note: The pen, with which these signatures were made has been preserved, and is now in the cabinet of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

This gentleman, who, from his conspicuous station in the continental congress of 1776, claims our first notice, was born in the town of Quincy, in the state of Massachusetts, in the year 1737. Both his father and grandfather were clergymen, distinguished for great devotion to the duties of their profession, and for the happy influence which they exercised over those to whom they ministered. Of his father it is recorded, that he evinced no common devotion to learning, to which cause he rendered essential service, by the patronage that he gave to the literary institutions of his native state.

Of so judicious a counselor, young Hancock was deprived, while yet a child, but happily he was adopted by a paternal uncle, Thomas Hancock, the most opulent merchant in Boston, and the most enterprising in New-England. Mr. Thomas Hancock was a man of enlarged views; and was distinguished by his liberality to several institutions, especially to Harvard College, in which he founded a professorship, and in whose library his name is still conspicuous as a principal benefactor.

Under the patronage of the uncle, the nephew received a liberal education in the above university, where he was graduated in 1754. During his collegiate course, though respectable as a scholar, he was in no wise distinguished, and at that time, gave little promise of the eminence to which he afterwards arrived.

On leaving college, he was entered as a clerk in the counting house of his uncle, where he continued till 1760 ; at which time he visited England, both for the purposes of acquiring information, and of becoming personally acquainted with the distinguished correspondents of his patron. In 1764, he returned to America ; shortly after which his uncle died, leaving to his nephew his extensive mercantile concerns, and his princely fortune, then the largest estate in the province.

To a young man, only twenty-seven, this sudden possession of wealth was full of danger; and to not a few would have proved their ruin. But Hancock became neither giddy, arrogant, nor profligate; and he continued his former course of regularity, industry, and moderation. Many depended upon him, as they had done upon his uncle, for employment. To these he was kind and liberal; while in his more extended and complicated commercial transactions, he maintained a high reputation for honor and integrity.

The possession of wealth, added to the upright and honorable character which he sustained, naturally gave him influence in the community, and rendered him even popular. In 1766, he was placed by the suffrages of his fellow citizens in the legislature of Massachusetts, and this event seems to have given a direction to his future career.

He thus became associated with such individuals as Otis, Cushing, and Samuel Adams, men of great political distinction, acute discrimination, and patriotic feeling. In such an atmosphere, the genius of Hancock brightened rapidly, and he soon became conspicuous among his distinguished colleagues. It has, indeed, been asserted, that in force of genius, he was inferior to many of his contemporaries; but honorable testimony was given, both to the purity of his principles, and the excellence of his abilities, by his-frequent nomination to committees, whose deliberations deeply involved the welfare of the community.

The arrival of a vessel belonging to Mr. Hancock, in the year 1768, which was said to be loaded contrary to the revenue laws, has already been noticed in our introduction. This vessel was seized by the custom-house officers, and placed under the guns of the Romney, at that time in the harbor, for security. The seizure of this vessel greatly exasperated the people, and in their excitement, they assaulted the revenue officers with violence, and compelled them to seek their safety on board the armed vessel, or in a neighboring castle. The boat of the collector was destroyed, and several houses belonging to his partisans were razed to their foundation.

In these proceedings, Mr. Hancock himself was in no wise engaged; and he probably condemned them as rash and unwarrantable. But the transaction contributed greatly to bring him into notice, and to increase his popularity.

This, and several similar occurrences, served as a pretext to the governor to introduce into Boston, not long after, several regiments of British troops; a measure which was fitted more than all others to irritate the inhabitants. Frequent collisions, as might be expected, soon happened between the soldiers and the citizens, the former of whom were insolent, and the latter independent. These contentions not long after broke out into acts of violence. An unhappy instance of this violence occurred on the evening of the 5th of March, 1770, at which time, a small party of British soldiers was assailed by several of the citizens, with balls of snow, and other weapons. The citizens were fired upon by order of the commanding officer: a few were killed, and several others were wounded.

Although the provocation, in this instance, was given by the citizens, the whole town was simultaneously aroused to seek redress. At the instigation of Samuel Adams, and Mr. Hancock, an assembly of the citizens was convened the following day, and these two gentlemen, with some others, were appointed a committee to demand of the governor the removal of the troops. Of this committee, Mr. Hancock was the chairman.

A few days after the above affray, which is usually termed "the Boston massacre," the bodies of the slain were buried with suitable demonstrations of public grief. In commemoration of the event, Mr. Hancock was appointed to deliver an address. After speaking of his attachment to a righteous government, and of his enmity to tyranny, he proceeded in the following animated strain: "The town of Boston, ever faithful to the British crown, has been invested by a British fleet; the troops of George the third have crossed the Atlantic, not to engage an enemy, but to assist a band of traitors in trampling on the rights and liberties of his most loyal subjects; those rights and liberties, which, as a father, he ought ever to regard, and as a king, he is bound in honor to defend from violation, even at the risk of his own life.

"These troops, upon their first arrival, took possession of our senate house, pointed their cannon against the judgment hall, and even continued them there, whilst the supreme court of the province was actually sitting to decide upon the lives and fortunes of the king's subjects. Our streets nightly resounded with the noise of their riot and debauchery; our peaceful citizens were hourly exposed to shameful insults, and often felt the effects of their violence and outrage. But this was not all; as though they thought it not enough to violate our civil rights, they endeavored to deprive us of the enjoyment of our religious privileges; to vitiate our morals, and thereby render us deserving of destruction. Hence the rude din of arms, which broke in upon your solemn devotions in your temples, on that day hallowed by heaven, and set apart by God himself for his peculiar worship. Hence, impious oaths and blasphemies, so often tortured your unaccustomed ear. Hence, all the arts which idleness and luxury could invent, were used to betray our youth of one sex into extravagance and effeminacy, and of the other to infamy and ruin ; and have they not succeeded but too well? Has not a reverence for religion sensibly decayed? Have not our infants almost learned to lisp curses, before they knew their horrid import? Have not our youth forgotten they were Americans, and regardless of the admonitions of the wise and aged, copied, with a servile imitation, the frivolity and vices of their tyrants? And must I be compelled to acknowledge, that even the noblest, fairest part of all creation, have not entirely escaped their cruel snares ?-or why have I seen an honest father clothed with shame; why a virtuous mother drowned in tears?

"But I forbear, and come reluctantly to the transactions of that dismal night, when in such quick succession we felt the extremes of grief, astonishment, and rage; when heaven in anger, for a dreadful moment suffered hell to take the reins; when satan, with his chosen band, opened the sluices of New England's blood, and sacrilegiously polluted our land with the dead bodies of her guiltless sons.

"Let this sad tale of death never be told, without a tear; let not the heaving bosom cease to burn with a manly indignation at the relation of it, through the long tracks of future time; let every parent tell the shameful story to his listening children, till tears of pity glisten in their eyes, or boiling passion shakes their tender frames.

"Dark and designing knaves, murderers, parricides ! How dare you tread upon the earth, which has drunk the blood of slaughtered innocence shed by your hands? How dare you breathe that air, which wafted to the ear of heaven the groans of those who fell a sacrifice to your accursed ambition?-But if the laboring earth doth not expand her jaws; if the air you breathe is not commissioned to be the minister of death ; yet, hear it, and tremble! The eye of heaven penetrates the darkest chambers of the soul; and you, though screened from human observation, must be arraigned, must lift your hands, red with the blood of those whose death you have procured, at the tremendous bar of God.

"But I gladly quit this theme of death-I would not dwell too long upon the horrid effects, which have already followed, from quartering regular troops in this town; let our misfortunes instruct posterity to guard against these evils. Standing armies are sometimes, (I would by no means say generally, much less universally,) composed of persons who have rendered themselves unfit to live in civil society; who arc equally indifferent to the glory of a George, or a Louis; who for the addition of one penny a day to their wages, would desert from the Christian cross, and fight under the crescent of the Turkish sultan; from such men as these what has not a state to fear? With such as these, usurping Caesar passed the Rubicon; with such as these he humbled mighty Rome, and forced the mistress of the world to own a master in a traitor. These are the men whom scepter robbers now employ to frustrate the designs of God, and render vain the -bounties which his gracious hand pours indiscriminately upon his creatures."

Previously to this address, doubts had been entertained by some, as to the perfect patriotism of Mr. Hancock. It was said that the governor of the province had, either by studied civilities, or by direct overtures, endeavored to attach him to the royal cause. For a time insinuations of this derogatory character were circulated abroad, highly detrimental to his fame. The manners and habits of Mr. Hancock had, not a little, contributed to countenance the malicious imputations. His fortune was princely. His mansion displayed the magnificence of a courtier, rather than the simplicity of a republican. Gold and silver embroidery adorned his garments, and on public occasions, his carriage and horses, and servants in livery, emulated the splendor of the English nobility. The eye of envy saw not this magnificence with indifference; nor was it strange that reports unfriendly to his patriotic integrity should have been circulated abroad; especially as from his wealth and fashionable intercourse, he had more connection with the governor and his party than many others.

The sentiments, however, expressed by Hancock in the above address, were so explicit and so patriotic, as to convince the most incredulous ; and a renovation of his popularity was the consequence.

Hancock, from this time, became as odious to the royal governor and his adherents, as he was dear to the Republican Party. It now became an object of some importance to the royal governor, to get possession of the persons of Mr. Hancock and Samuel Adams; and this is said to have been intended in the expedition to Concord, which led to the memorable battle of Lexington, the opening scene of the revolutionary war. Notwithstanding the secrecy with which that expedition was planned, these patriots, who were at the time members of the provincial congress at Concord, fortunately made their escape; but it was only at the moment the British troops entered the house where they lodged. Following this battle, Governor Gage issued his proclamation, offering a general pardon to all who should manifest a proper penitence for their opposition to the royal authority, excepting the above two gentlemen, whose guilt placed them beyond the reach of the royal clemency.

In October, 1774, Hancock was unanimously elected to the presidential chair of the provincial congress of Massachusetts. The following year, the still higher honor of the presidency of the continental congress was conferred upon him. In this body, were men of superior genius, and of still greater experience than Hancock. There were Franklin, and Jefferson, and Dickinson, and many others, men of pre-eminent abilities and superior political sagacity; but the recent proclamation of Governor Gage, proscribing Hancock and Adams, had given those gentlemen great popularity, and presented a sufficient reason to the continental congress, to express their respect for them, by the election of the former to the presidential chair.

In this distinguished station Hancock continued till October, 1777; at which time, in consequence of infirm health, induced by an unremitted application to business, he resigned his office, and, with a popularity seldom enjoyed by any individual, retired to his native province.

Of the convention, which, about this time, was appointed to frame a constitution for the state of Massachusetts, Hancock was a member. Under this constitution, in 1780, he was the first governor of the commonwealth, to which office he was annually elected, until the year 1785, when he resigned. After an interval of two years, he was re-elected to the same office, in which he was continued to the time of his death, which took place on the 8th of October, 1793, and in the 55th year of his age.

Of the character of Mr. Hancock, the limits which we have prescribed to ourselves, will permit us to say but little more. It was an honorable trait in that character, that while he possessed a superfluity of wealth, to the unrestrained enjoyment of which he came at an unguarded period of life, he avoided excessive indulgence and dissipation. His habits, through life, were uniformly on the side of virtue. In his disposition and manners, he was kind and courteous. He claimed no superiority from his advantages, and manifested no arrogance on account of his wealth.

His enemies accused him of an excessive fondness for popularity; to which fondness, envy and malice were not backward in ascribing his liberality on various occasions. Whatever may have been the justice of such an imputation, many examples of the generosity of his character are recorded. Hundred of families, it is said, in times of distress, were daily fed from his munificence. In promoting the liberties of his country, no one, perhaps, actually expended more wealth, or was willing to make greater sacrifices. An instance of his public spirit, in 1775, is recorded, much to his praise.

At that time, the American army was besieging Boston, to expel the British, who held possession of the town., to accomplish this object, the entire destruction of the city was proposed by the American officers. By the execution of such a plan, the whole fortune of Mr. Hancock would have been sacrificed. Yet he immediately acceded to the measure, declaring his readiness to surrender his all, whenever the liberties of his country should require it.

It is not less honorable to the character of Mr. Hancock, that while wealth and independence powerfully tempted him t a life of indolence, he devoted himself for many years, almost without intermission, to the most laborious service of his country. Malevolence, during some periods of his public life, aspersed his character, and imputed to him motives of conduct to which he were a stranger. Full justice was done to his memory at his death, in the expressions of grief and affection which were offered over his remains, by the multitudes who thronged his house while his body lay in state, and who followed his remains to the grave. [Source: Lives of the signers to the Declaration of independence; By Charles Augustus Goodrich; Publ. 1829; Pages 71-81 ; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]

Among those who signed the declaration of independence, and were conspicuous in the revolution, there existed, of course, a great diversity of intellectual endowments; nor did all render to their country, in those perilous days, the same important services. Like the luminaries of heaven, each contributed his portion of influence; but, like them, they differed, as star different from star in glory. But in the constellation of great men, which adorned that era, few shone with more brilliancy, or exercised a more powerful influence, than Samuel Adams.

This gentleman was born at Quincy, in Massachusetts, September 22nd, 1722, in the neighborhood afterwards rendered memorable as the birth place of Hancock, and as the residence of the distinguished family which has given two presidents to the United States. His descent was from a respectable family, which emigrated to America with the first settlers of the land.

In the year 1736, he became a member of Harvard University, where he was distinguished for an uncommon attention to all his collegiate exercises, and for his classical and scientific attainments. On taking the degree of master, in 1743, he proposed the following question, "Whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the commonwealth cannot be otherwise .preserved?" He maintained the affirmative; and in this collegiate exercise furnished no dubious evidence of his attachment to the liberties of the people.

On leaving the university, he began the study of law, for which profession his father designed him; but at the solicitation of his mother, this pursuit was relinquished, and he became a clerk in the counting house of Thomas Cushing, at that time a distinguished merchant. But his genius was not adapted to mercantile pursuits; and in a short time after commencing business for himself, partly owing to the failure in business of a friend, and partly to injudicious management, he lost the entire capital which had been given him by his father.

The genius of Adams was naturally bent on politics. It was with him an all engrossing subject. From his earliest youth, he had felt its inspiration. It occupied his thoughts, enlivened his conversation, and employed his pen. In respect to his private business, this was an unfortunate trait of character; but most fortunate for his country, since he thus acquired an extensive knowledge of those principles of rational liberty, which he afterwards asserted with so much energy, in opposition to the arbitrary conduct of the British government.

In 1763 it was announced, that the British ministry had it in view to " tax the colonies, for the purpose of raising a revenue which was to be placed at the disposal of the crown." This news filled the colonies with alarm. In Massachusetts, a committee was appointed by the people of Boston to express the public sentiment in relation to this contemplated measure, for the guidance of the representatives to the general court. The instructions of this committee were drawn by Mr. Adams. They formed, in truth, a powerful remonstrance against the injustice of the contemplated system of taxation ; and they merit the more particular notice, as they were the first recorded public document, which denied the right of taxation to the British parliament. They also contained the first suggestion of the propriety of that mutual understanding and correspondence among the colonies, which laid the foundation of their future confederacy. In these instructions, after alluding to the evils which had resulted from the acts of the British parliament, relating to trade, Mr. Adams observes :-" If our trade may be taxed, why not our lands? Why not the produce of our lands, and every thing we possess, or use? This we conceive annihilates our charter rights to govern and tax ourselves. It strikes at our British privileges, which, as we have never forfeited, we hold in common with our fellow subjects, who are natives of Britain. If taxes are laid upon us in any shape, 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. We, therefore, earnestly recommend it to you, to use your utmost endeavors to obtain from the general court, all necessary advice and instruction to our agent, at this most critical juncture." "We also desire you to use your endeavors, that the other colonies, having the same interests and rights with us, may add their weight to that of this province; that by united application of all who are agreed, all may obtain redress!"
The deep interest which Mr. Adams felt and manifested for the rights of the colonies, soon brought him into favor with the patriotic party. He became a leader in their popular assemblies, and was bold in denouncing the unjust acts of the British ministry.

In 1765 he was elected a representative to the general court of Massachusetts, from the town of Boston. From this period, during the whole revolutionary struggle, he was the bold, persevering, and efficient supporter of the rights of his oppressed country. As a member of the court, he soon became conspicuous, and was honored with the office of clerk to that body. In the legislature, he was characterized for the same activity and boldness which he had manifested in the town. He was appointed upon almost every committee, assisted in drawing nearly every report, and exercised a large share of influence, in almost every meeting, which had for its object the counteraction of the unjust plans of the administration.

But it was not in his legislative capacity alone, that Mr. Adams exhibited his hostility to the British government, and his regard for rational freedom. Several able essays on these subjects were published by him; and he was the author of several plans for opposing, more successfully, the unjust designs of the mother country. He has the honor of having suggested the first congress at New-York, which prepared the way for a Continental Congress, ten years after; and at length for the union and confederacy of the colonies.

The injudicious management of his private affairs, already alluded to, rendered Mr. Adams poor. When this was known in England, the partisans of the ministry proposed to bribe him, by the gift of some lucrative office. A suggestion of this kind was accordingly made to Governor Hutchinson, to which he replied in a manner highly complimentary to the integrity of Mr. Adams. "Such is the obstinacy and inflexible disposition of the man, that he never can be conciliated by any office or gift whatever." The offer, however, it is reported, was actually made to Mr. Adams, but neither the allurements of fortune or power could for a moment tempt him to abandon the cause of truth, or to hazard the liberties of the people.

He was indeed poor; but he could be tempted neither by British gold, nor by the honors or profits of any office within the gift of the royal governor. Such patriotism has not been common in the world; but in America it was to be found in many a bosom, during the revolutionary struggle. The knowledge of facts like this, greatly diminishes the wonder, which has sometimes been expressed, that America should have successfully contended with Great Britain. Her physical strength was comparatively weak; but the moral courage of her statesmen, and her soldiers, was to her instead of numbers, of wealth, and fortifications.

Allusion has been made, both in our introduction, and in our notice of Hancock, to the Boston massacre, in 1770, an event which will long remain memorable in the annals of the revolution, not only as it was the first instance of bloodshed between the British and the Americans, but as it conduced to increase the irritation, and to widen the breach between the two countries.
Our limits forbid a more particular account of this tragically affair ; and it is again alluded to only for the purpose of bringing more distinctly into view, the intrepid and decisive conduct of Samuel Adams on that occasion.

On the morning following this night of bloodshed, a meeting of the citizens of Boston was called. Mingled emotions of horror and indignation pervaded the assembly. Samuel Adams first arose to address the listening multitude. Few men could harangue a popular assembly with greater energy, or exercise a more absolute control over their passions and affections. On that occasion, a Demosthenes, or a Chatham, could scarcely have addressed the assembled multitude with a more impressive eloquence, or have represented in a more just and emphatic manner, the fearful crisis to which the affairs of the colonies were fast tending. A committee was unanimously chosen to wait upon Governor Hutchinson, with a request that the troops might be immediately removed from the town. To the request of this committee, the governor, with his usual prevarication, replied, that the troops were not subject to his order. Mr. Adams, who was one of this committee, strongly represented to the governor the danger of retaining the troops longer in the capital. His indignation was aroused, and in a tone of lofty independence, he declared, that the removal of the troops would alone satisfy his insulted and indignant townsmen; it was, therefore, at the governor's peril, that they were continued in the town, and that he alone must be answerable for the fatal consequences, which it required no gift of prophecy to predict must ensue.

It was now dark. The meeting of the citizens was still undissolved. The greatest anxiety pervaded the assembly and scarcely were they restrained from going in a body to the governor, to learn his determination. Aware of the critical posture of affairs, aware of the personal hazard which he encountered by refusing a compliance, the governor at length gave his consent to the removal of the troops, and stipulated that the necessary preparations should commence on the following morning. Thus, through the decisive and spirited conduct of Samuel Adams, and a few other kindred spirits, the obstinacy of a royal governor was subdued, and further hostilities were for a still longer time suspended.

The popularity and influence of Mr. Adams were rapidly increasing, and the importance of his being detached from the popular party became every day more manifest. We have already noticed the suggestion to Governor Hutchinson to affect this, by the gift of some lucrative office. Other offers of a similar kind, it is reported, were made to him, at different times, by the royal authorities, but with the same ill success. About the year 1773, Governor Gage renewed the experiment. At that time Colonel Fenton was requested to wait upon Mr. Adams, with the assurance of Governor Gage, that any benefits would be conferred upon him which he should demand, on the condition of his ceasing to oppose the measures of the royal government. At the same time, it was not obscurely hinted, that such a measure was necessary, on personal considerations. He had incurred the royal displeasure, and already, such had been his conduct, that it was in the power of the governor to send him to England for trial, on a charge of treason. It was suggested that a change in his political conduct, might save him from this disgrace, and even from a severer fate ; and might elevate him, moreover, from his circumstances of indigence, to the enjoyment of affluence.

To this proposal, Mr. Adams listened with attention; but as Col. Fenton concluded his communication, with all the spirit of a man of honor, with all the integrity of the most uncorrupted and incorruptible patriotism, he replied; "Go tell Governor Gage, that my peace has long since been made with the King of kings, and that it is the advice of Samuel Adams to him, no longer to insult the feelings of an already exasperated people,"

The independence and sterling integrity of Mr. Adams, might well have secured to him the respect, and even confidence of Governor Gage; but with far different feelings did he regard the noble conduct of this high minded patriot. Under the irritation excited by the failure of a favorite plan, Governor Gage issued a proclamation, which comprehended the following language: "I do hereby," he said, " in his majesty's name, offer and promise his most gracious pardon to all persons, who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and return to the duties of peaceable subjects: excepting only from the benefits of such pardon, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration but that of condign punishment."

Thus these independent men were singled out as the objects of peculiar vengeance, and even their lives endangered, for honorably resisting a temptation, to which, had they yielded, they would have merited the reproach of their countrymen, and the scorn of the world.
Mr. Adams was a member of the first continental congress, which assembled in Philadelphia on the 5th of September, 1774; and continued a member of that body until the year 1781.

During this period, no delegate acted a more conspicuous or manly part. No one exhibited a more indefatigable zeal, or a firmer tone of character. He early saw that the contest would probably not be decided without bloodshed. He was himself prepared for every extremity, and was willing that such measures should be adopted, as should lead to an early issue of the controversy. He was accordingly among the warmest advocates for the declaration of American independence. In his view, the die was cast, and a further friendly connection with the parent country was impossible. "I am perfectly satisfied," said he, in a letter written from Philadelphia, to a friend in Massachusetts, in April, 1776, "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 fought 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. belonging to any of the inhabitants of Great Britain; declaring them the enemies of the United Colonies ; and torn into shivers their acts of trade, by allowing commerce, subject to regulations to be made by ourselves, with the people of all countries, except such as are subject to the British king. It cannot surely, after all this, be imagined that we consider ourselves, or mean to be considered by others, in any other state, than that of independence."

The independence of America was at length declared, and gave a new political character, and an immediate dignity to the cause of the colonies. But notwithstanding this measure might itself bear the aspect of victory, a formidable contest yet awaited the Americans. The year following the declaration of independence, the situation of the colonies was extremely gloomy.

The stoutest hearts trembled within them, and even doubts were expressed, whether the measures which had been adopted, particularly the declaration of independence, were not precipitate. The neighborhood of Philadelphia became the seat of war; congress, now reduced to only twenty-eight members, had resolved to remove their session to Lancaster. At this critical period, Mr. Adams accidentally fell in company with several other members, by whom the subject of the state of the country was freely and confidentially discussed. Gloomy forebodings seemed to pervade their minds, and the greatest anxiety was expressed as to the issue of the contest.

To this conversation, Mr. Adams listened with silent attention. At length he expressed his surprise, that such desponding feelings should have settled upon their hearts, and such desponding language should be even confidentially uttered by their lips. To this it was answered, "The chance is desperate." "Indeed, indeed, it is desperate," said Mr. Adams, "if this be our language. If we wear long faces, others will do so too; if we despair, let us not expect that others will hope ; or that they will persevere in a contest, from which their leaders shrink.

But let not such feelings, let not such language, be ours. "Thus, while the hearts of others were ready to faint, Samuel Adams maintained his usual firmness. His unshaken courage, and his calm reliance upon the aid and protection of heaven, contributed in an eminent degree to inspire his countrymen with a confidence of their final success. A higher encomium could not have been bestowed on any member of the continental congress, than is expressed in relation to Mr. Adams by Mr. Galloway, in his historical and political reflections on the rise and progress of the American rebellion, published in Great Britain, 1780. "He eats little," says the author, "drinks little, sleeps little, thinks much, and is most indefatigable in the pursuit of his object. It was this man, who by his superior application, managed at once the factions in congress at Philadelphia, and the factions of New-England."

In 1781, Mr. Adams retired from congress; but it was to receive from his native state, additional proofs of her high estimation of his services, and of the confidence which she reposed in his talents and integrity He had already been an active member of the convention that formed her constitution; and after it went into effect, he was placed in the senate of the state, and for several years presided over that body. In 1789, he was elected lieutenant governor, and held that office till 1794; when, upon the death of Hancock, he was chosen governor, and was annually re-elected till 1797, when he retired from public life. This retirement, however, he did not long enjoy, as his death occurred on October 2c, 1803, at the advanced age of 82.

From the foregoing sketches of Mr. Adams, it will not be difficult for the reader to form a tolerably correct opinion of his character and disposition. In his person, he is said to have been only of the middle size, but his countenance indicated a noble genius within, and a more than ordinary inflexibility of character and purpose. Great sincerity and simplicity marked his manners and deportment. In his conversation, he was at once interesting and instructive; and those who shared his friendship had seldom any reason to doubt his affection and constancy.

His writings were voluminous, but unfortunately, as they generally related to the temporary politics of the day, most of them are lost. Those which remain furnish abundant proof of his superiority as a writer, of the soundness of his political creed, and of the piety and sincerity of his character. As an orator, he was eminently fitted for the stormy times in which he lived. His elocution was concise and impressive, partaking more of the logical than the figurative, and rather calculated to enlighten the understanding, than to excite the feelings. Yet no man could address himself more powerfully to the passions, than he did, on certain occasions. As a statesman, his views were broad and enlightened; what his judgment had once matured, he pursued with inflexible firmness, and patriotic ardor. While others desponded, he was full of hope; where others hesitated, he was resolute; where others were supine, he was eager for action. His circumstances of indigence led him to habits of simplicity and frugality; but beyond this, he was naturally averse to parade and ostentation.

"Mr. Adams was a Christian. His mind was early imbued with piety, as well as cultivated by science. He early approached the table of the Lord Jesus, and the purity of his life witnessed the sincerity of his profession. On the Christian Sabbath, he constantly went to the temple, and the morning and evening devotions in his family proved, that his religion attended him in his seasons of retirement from the world. The last production of his pen was in favor of Christian truth. He died in the faith of the gospel."

In his opposition to British tyranny, no man was more conscientious; he detested royalty, and despised the ostentation and contemptible servility of the royal agents ; his patriotism was of a pure and lofty character. For his country he labored both by night and by day, with a zeal which was scarcely interrupted, and with an energy that knew no fatigue. Although enthusiastic, he was still prudent. He would persuade, petition, and remonstrate, where these would accomplish his object; but when these failed, he was ready to resist even unto blood, and would sooner have sacrificed his life than yielded with dishonor. "Had he lived in any country or epoch," says his biographer, "when abuses of power were to be resisted, he would have been one of the reformers. He would have suffered excommunication, rather than have bowed to papal infallibility, or paid tribute to St. Peter; he would have gone to the stake, rather than submit to the prelatic ordinances of Laud; he would have mounted the scaffold, sooner than pay a shilling of illegal ship money he would have fled to a desert, rather than endure the profligate tyranny of a Stuart; he was proscribed, and would sooner have been condemned as a traitor, than assent to an illegal .tax, if it had been only a sixpenny stamp or an insignificant duty on tea; and there appeared to be no species of corruption by which this inflexibility could have been destroyed."

In the delegation of political power, he may be said to have been too cautious, since our constitutions, as he would have modeled them, would not have had sufficient inherent force for their own preservation. One of his colleagues thus honorably described him: "Samuel Adams would have the state of Massachusetts govern the union; the town of Boston govern Massachusetts; and that he should govern the town of Boston, and then the whole would not be intentionally ill governed."

With some apparent austerity, there was nothing of the spirit of gloom or arrogance about him. In his demeanor, he combined mildness with firmness, and dignity with condescension.

If sometimes an advocate for measures which might be thought too strong, it was, perhaps, because his comprehension extended beyond ordinary minds, and he had more energy to effect his purposes, than attaches to common men. In addition to these qualities, he manifested an uncommon indifference to pecuniary considerations; he was poor while he lived, and had not the death of an only son relieved his latter day poverty, Samuel Adams, notwithstanding his virtues, his patriotism, his unwearied zeal, and his acknowledged usefulness, while he lived, would have had to claim a burial at the hand of charity, or at the public expense.
[Source: Lives of the signers to the Declaration of independence; By Charles Augustus Goodrich; Publ. 1829; Page 81-92 ; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]

John Adams was born at Quincy, then part of the ancient town of Braintree, on the 19th day of October, old style, 1735. He was a descendant of the Puritans, his ancestors having early emigrated from England, and settled in Massachusetts. Discovering early a strong love of reading and of knowledge, proper care was taken by his father to provide for his education. His youthful studies were prosecuted in Braintree, under Mr. Marsh, a gentleman whose fortune it was to instruct several children, who in manhood were destined to act a conspicuous part in the scenes of the revolution.

He became a member of Harvard College, 1751, and was graduated in course in 1755: with what degree of reputation he left the university is not now precisely known; we only know that he was distinguished in a class of which the Reverend Dr. Hemmenway was a member, who bore honorable testimony to the openness and decision of his character, and to the strength and activity of his mind.

Having chosen the law for his profession, he commenced and prosecuted its studies under the direction of Samuel Putnam, a barrister of eminence at Worcester. By him he was introduced to the celebrated Jeremy Gridley, then attorney general of the province of Massachusetts Bay.

At the first interview they became friends; Gridley at once proposed Mr. Adams for admission to the bar of Suffolk, and took him into special favor. Soon after his admission, Mr. Gridley led his young friend into a private chamber with an air of secrecy and pointing to a book case, said, "Sir, there is the secret of my eminence, and of which you may avail yourself as you please." It was a pretty good collection of treatises of the civil law. In this place Mr. Adams spent his days and nights, until he had made himself master of the principles of the code.

From early life, the bent of his mind was towards politics, a propensity which the state of the times, if it did not create, doubtless very much strengthened. While a resident at Worcester, he wrote a letter of which the following is an extract. The letter was dated October 12th, 1755. "Soon after the reformation, a few people came over into this new world for conscience sake: perhaps this apparently trivial incident may transfer the great seat of empire into America. It looks likely to me; for, if we can remove the turbulent Gallicks, our people, according to the exactest computations, will in another century become more numerous than England itself. Should this be the case, since we have, I may say, all the naval stores of the nation in our hands, it will be easy to obtain a mastery of the seas; and the united force of all Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep us from setting up for ourselves is to disunite us.

"Be not surprised that I am turned politician. This whole town is immersed in politics. The interests of nations and all the dira of war make the subject of every conversation. I sit and hear, and after having been led through a maze of sage observations, I sometimes retire, and lay things together, and form some reflections pleasing to myself. The produce of one of these reveries you have read."

This prognostication of independence, and of so vast an increase of numbers, and of naval force, as might defy all Europe, is remarkable, especially as coming from so young a man, and so early in the history of the country. It is more remarkable that its author should have lived to see fulfilled to the letter, what would have seemed to others at the time, but the extravagance of youthful fancy. His early political feelings were thus strongly American, and from this ardent attachment to his native soil he never departed.

In 1758 he was admitted to the bar, and commenced business in Braintree. He is understood to have made his first considerable effort, or to have obtained his most signal success, at Plymouth, in a jury trial, and a criminal cause. In 1765, Mr. Adams laid before the public his "Essay on the Canon and Feudal Law," a work distinguished for its power and eloquence. The object of this work was to show, that our New-England ancestors, in consenting to exile themselves from their native land, were actuated mainly by the desire of delivering themselves from the power of the hierarchy, and from the monarchical, aristocratical, and political system of the other continent; and to make this truth bear with effect on the politics of the times. Its tone is uncommonly bold and animated for that period. He calls on the people not only to defend, but to study and understand their rights and privileges; and urges earnestly the necessity of diffusing general knowledge.

In conclusion, he exclaims, "let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear the danger of thralldom to our consciences, from ignorance, extreme poverty and dependence, in short, from civil and political slavery. Let us see delineated before us, the true map of man-let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among the-works of God! that consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God, as it is derogatory from our own honor, or interest, or happiness ; and that God Almighty has promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good
will to man.

"Let the bar proclaim the laws, the rights, the generous plan of power delivered down from remote antiquity; inform the world of the mighty struggles and numberless sacrifices made by our ancestors in the defense of freedom. Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes or parliaments, but original rights, conditions of original contracts, coequal with prerogative, and coeval with government . That many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established as preliminaries even before a parliament existed. Let them search for the foundation of British laws and government in the frame of human nature, in the constitution of the intellectual and moral world. There let us see that truth, liberty, justice, and benevolence, are its everlasting basis; and if these could be removed, the superstructure is overthrown of course.

"Let the colleges join their harmony in the same delightful concert. Let every declamation turn upon the beauty of liberty and virtue, and the deformity, turpitude, and malignity of slavery and vice. Let the public disputations become researches into the grounds, nature, and ends of government, and the means of preserving the good and demolishing the evil. Let the dialogues and all the exercises become the instruments of impressing on the tender mind, and of spreading and distributing far and wide the ideas of right, and the sensations of freedom."

In 1766, Mr. Adams removed his residence to Boston, still continuing his attendance on the neighboring circuits, and not infrequently called to remote parts of the province.

In 1770 occurred, as has already been noticed, the " Boston massacre." Mr. Adams was solicited by the British officers and soldiers to undertake their defense, on the indictment found against them, for their share in that tragical scene. This was a severe test of his professional firmness. He was well aware of the popular indignation against these prisoners, and he was at that time a representative of Boston in the general court, an office which depended entirely upon popular favor. But he knew that it was due to his profession, and to himself, to undertake their defense, and to hazard the consequences. "The trial was well managed. The captain was severed in his trial from the soldiers, who were tried first, and their defense rested in part upon the orders, real or supposed, given by the officer to his men to fire. This was in a good measure successful. On the trial of Capt. Preston* no such order to fire could be proved. The result was, as it should have been, an acquittal. It was a glorious thing that the counsel and jury had nerve sufficient to breast the torrent of public feeling. It showed Britain that she had not a mere mob to deal with, but resolute and determined men, who could restrain themselves. Such men are dangerous to arbitrary power."

The event proved, that as he judged well for his own reputation, so he judged well for the interest and permanent fame of his country. The same year he was elected one of the representatives in the general assembly, an honor to which the people would not have called him, had he lost their confidence and affection.

In the year 1773, and 1774, he was chosen a counselor by the members of the general court; but was rejected by Governor Hutchinson, in the former of these years, and by Governor Gage, in the latter.

In this latter year, he was appointed a member of the continental congress, from Massachusetts. "This appointment was made at Salem, where the general court had been convened by Governor Gage, in the last hour of the existence of a house of representatives, under the provincial charter. While engaged in this important business, the governor having been informed of what was passing, sent his secretary with a message, dissolving the general court. The secretary finding the door lo-ked, directed the messenger to go in, and inform the speaker that the secretary was at the door, with a message from the governor. The messenger returned, and informed the secretary that the orders of the house were, that the doors should be kept fast; whereupon the secretary soon after read a proclamation, dissolving the general court, upon the stairs. Thus terminated, forever, the actual exercise of the political power of England in or over Massachusetts."

On the meeting of congress in Philadelphia, 1774, Mr. Adams appeared and took his seat. To talents of the highest order, and the most commanding eloquence, he added an honest devotion to the cause of his country, and a firmness of character, for which he was distinguished through life. Prior to that period he had, upon all occasions, stood forth openly in defense of the rights of his country, and in opposition to the injustice and encroachments of Great Britain. He boldly opposed them by his advice, his actions, and his eloquence; and, with other worthies, succeeded in spreading among the people a proper alarm for their liberties. Mr. Adams was placed upon the first and most important committees. During the first year, addresses were prepared to the king, to the people of England, of Ireland, Canada, and Jamaica. The name of Mr. Adams is found upon almost all those important committees. His firmness and eloquence in debate, soon gave him a standing among the highest in that august body.

The proceedings of this congress have already passed in review. Among the members, a variety of opinions seem to have prevailed, as to the probable issue of the contest, in which the country was engaged. On this subject, Mr. Adams, a few years before his death, expressed himself, in a letter to a friend, as follows: "When congress had finished their business, as they thought, in the autumn of 1774, I had with Mr. Henry, before we took leave of each other, some familiar conversation, in which I expressed a full conviction that our resolves, declaration of rights, enumeration of wrongs, petitions, remonstrance's, and addresses, associations, and non-importation agreements, however they might be viewed in America, and however necessary to cement the union of the colonies, would be but waste water in England. Mr. Henry said, they might make some impression among the people of England, but agreed with me, that they would be totally lost upon the government. I had but just received a short and hasty letter, written to me by Major Joseph Hawley, of Northampton, containing a few broken hints, as he called them, of what he thought was proper to be done, and concluding with these words, 'after all, we must fight.' This letter I read to Mr. Henry, who listened with great attention, and as soon as I had pronounced the words, ' after all, we must fight,' he raised his head, and, with an energy and vehemence that I can never forget, broke out with, '1 am of that man's mind.' I put the letter into his hand, and when he had read it he returned it to me, with an equally solemn asseveration, that he agreed entirely in opinion with the writer.'

"The other delegates from Virginia returned to their state in full confidence that all our grievances would be redressed. The last words that Mr. Richard Henry Lee said to me, when . we parted, were, 'we shall infallibly carry all our points. You will be completely relieved; all the offensive acts will be repealed; the army and fleet will be recalled, and Britain will give up her foolish project.'

"Washington only was in doubt. He never spoke in public. In private, he joined with those who advocated a non-exportation, as well as a non-importation agreement. With both, he thought we should prevail; without either, he thought it doubtful. Henry was clear in one opinion, Richard Henry Lee in an opposite opinion, and Washington doubted between the two."

On the 15th day of June, the continental congress appointed General Washington commander in chief of the American armies. To Mr. Adams is ascribed the honor of having. suggested and advocated the choice of this illustrious man. When first suggested by Mr. Adams, to a few of his confidential friends in Congress, the proposition was received with a marked disapprobation. Washington, at this time, was almost a stranger to them; and, besides, to elevate a man who had never held a higher military rank than that of colonel, over officers of the highest grade in the militia, and those, too, already in the field, appeared not only irregular, but likely to produce much dissatisfaction among them, and. the people at large. To Mr. Adams, however, the greatest advantage appeared likely to result from the choice of Washington, whose character and peculiar fitness for the station he well understood. Samuel Adams, his distinguished colleague, coincided with him in these views, and through their instrumentality this felicitous choice was affected. When a majority in congress had been secured, Mr. Adams introduced the subject of appointing a commander in chief of the armies, and having sketched the qualifications which should be found in the man to be elevated to so responsible a station, he concluded by nominating George Washington, of Virginia, to the office.

'To Washington, himself, nothing could have been more unexpected. Until that moment he was ignorant of the intended nomination. The proposal was seconded by Samuel Adams, and the following day it received the unanimous approbation of congress.

When Mr. Adams was first made a member of the continental congress, it was hinted that he, at that time, inclined to a separation of the colonies from England, and the establishment of an independent government. On his way to Philadelphia, he was warned, by several advisers, not to introduce a subject of so delicate a character, until the affairs of the country should wear a different aspect. Whether Mr. Adams needed this admonition or not, will not, in this place, be determined. But in 1776, the affairs of the colonies, it could no longer be questioned, demanded at least the candid discussion of the subject. On the 6th of May, of that year, Mr. Adams offered, in committee of the whole, a resolution that the colonies should form governments independent of the crown. On the 10th of May, this resolution was adopted, in the following shape: "That it be recommended to all the colonies, which had not already established governments suited to the exigencies of their case, to adopt such governments as would, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and Americans in general."

"This significant vote was soon followed by the direct proposition, which Richard Henry Lee had the honor to submit to congress, by resolution, on the 7th day of June. The published journal does not expressly state it, but there is no doubt that this resolution was in the same words, when originally submitted by Mr. Lee, as when finally passed. Having been discussed on Saturday the 8th, and Monday the 10th of June, this resolution was, on the last mentioned day, postponed for further consideration to the first day of July; and at the same time it was voted, that a committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration, to the effect of the resolution. This committee was elected by ballot on the following day, and consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin' Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston."

It is usual when committees are elected by ballot, that their members are arranged in order, according to the number of votes which each has received. Mr. Jefferson, therefore, probably received the highest, and Mr. Adams the next highest number of votes. The difference is said to have been but a single vote.

Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams, standing thus at the head of the committee, were requested by the other members, to act as a sub-committee to prepare the draft; and Mr. Jefferson drew up the paper. The original draft, as brought by him from his study, and submitted to the other members of the committee, with interlineations in the hand writing of Dr. Franklin, and others in that of Mr. Adams, was in Mr. Jefferson's possession at the time of his death. The merit of this paper is Mr. Jefferson's. Some changes were made in it, on the suggestion of other members of the committee, and others by Congress, while it was under discussion. But none of them altered the tone, the frame, the arrangement, or the general character of the instrument. As a composition, the declaration is Mr. Jefferson's. It is the production of his mind, and the high honor of it belongs to him clearly and absolutely.

"While Mr. Jefferson was the author of the declaration itself, Mr. Adams was its great supporter on the floor of Congress. This was the unequivocal testimony of Mr. Jefferson. 'John Adams,' said he, on one occasion, 'was our Colossus on the floor; not graceful, not elegant, not always fluent in his public addresses, he yet came out with a power, both of thought and of expression, that moved us from our seats;" and at another time, he said, 'John Adams was the pillar of its support on the floor of Congress; its ablest advocate and defender against the multifarious assaults, which were made' against it."

On the second day of July, the resolution of independence was adopted, and on the fourth, the declaration itself was unanimously agreed to. Language can scarcely describe the transport of Mr. Adams at this time. He has best described them himself, in a letter written the day following, to his wife. "Yesterday," says he, "the greatest question was decided that was ever debated in America; and greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. A resolution was passed, without one dissenting colony, ' That these United States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.' The day is passed. The 4th of July, 1776, will be a memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forever. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; and that posterity will triumph, although you and I may rue, which I hope we shall not."

About the time of the declaration of independence, occurred the disastrous battle of Flatbush on Long Island. 'The victory thus gained by the British, was considered by Lord Howe as a favorable moment for proposing to congress an accommodation; and for this purpose, he requested an interview with some of the members. In the deliberations of congress, Mr. Adams opposed this proposal, on the ground that no accommodation could thus be effected.
A committee, however, was appointed to wait on Lord Howe, consisting of himself, Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Rutledge. On being apprised of their intended interview, Lord Howe sent one of his principal officers as a hostage, but the commissioners taking him with them, fearlessly repaired to the British camp. On their arrival, they were conducted through an army of twenty thousand men, drawn up for the purpose of show and impression. But the display was lost on the commissioners, who studiously avoided all signs of wonder or anxiety. As had been predicted by Mr. Adams, the interview terminated without any beneficial result. On being introduced, Lord Howe informed them that he could not treat with them as a committee of congress, but only as private gentlemen of influence in the colonies; to which Mr. Adams replied, "You may view me in any light you please, sir, ex cept that of a British subject."

During the remainder of the year 1776, and all 1777, Mr. Adams was deeply engaged in the affairs of congress. He served as a member of ninety different committees, and was chairman of twenty-five committees. From his multiform and severe labors he was relieved in December of the latter year, by the appointment of commissioner to France, in the place of Silas Deane.

In February, 1778, he embarked for that country on board of the frigate Boston. On his arrival in France, he found that Dr. Franklin, and Arthur Lee, who had been appointed commissioners the preceding year, and were then in France, had already concluded a treaty with the French government. Little business, therefore, of a public nature was left him to do. In the summer of 1779, he returned to America.

About the time of his arrival, the people of Massachusetts were adopting measures for calling a convention to form a new state constitution. Of this convention he was elected a member, and was also a member of the committee appointed by the convention to report a plan for their consideration. A plan which he drew tip was accepted, and was made the basis of the constitution of that state.

In the August following, in consequence of an informal suggestion from the court of St. James, he received the appointment of minister plenipotentiary for negotiating a treaty of peace, and a treaty of commerce, with Great Britain. A salary of twenty-five hundred pounds sterling was voted him. In the month of October, he embarked on board the French ship La Sensible, and after a tedious voyage was landed at Ferrol, in Spain, whence he proceeded to Paris, where he arrived in the month of February. He there communicated with Dr. Franklin, who was at that time envoy of the United States at the court of France, and with the Count de Vergennes, the French prime minister. But the British government, it was found, were not disposed to peace, and the day seemed far distant when any negotiation could be opened with a hope of success.

Mr. Adams, however, was so useful in various ways, that towards the close of the year, congress honored him by a vote of thanks, " for his industrious attention to the interest and hono r of these United States abroad."

In June, 1780, congress being informed that Mr. Laurens, who had been appointed to negotiate a loan in Holland for the United States, had been taken prisoner by the English, forwarded a commission to Mr. Adams to proceed to Holland, for the above purpose. To this, soon after, was added the new appointment of commissioner to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce with the States General of Holland; and, at the same time, authority was given him to pledge the faith of the United States to the "armed neutrality" pr oposed by the Russian government.
Mr. Adams repaired with promptitude to Holland, and engaged with great zeal in the business of his commission. From this station he was suddenly summoned by the Count de Vergennes, to consult, at Paris, with regard to a project for a general peace, suggested by the courts of Vienna and St. Petersburgh.

This was one of the most anxious periods in the eventful life of Mr. Adams. France was, indeed, ready to fulfill her guaranty of independence to the United States; but it was the politic aim of the Count de Vergennes, to secure important advantages for his own country, in the settlement of American difficulties. Hence, no effort was spared to make Mr. Adams, in this important matter, the subordinate agent of the French cabinet. He, on the other hand, regarded solely the interests of the United States, and the instructions of congress ; and his obstinate independence, unshaken by the alternate threats and blandishments of the court of Versailles, occasioned an effort by the Count de Vergennes to obtain, through the French minister in Philadelphia, such a modification of the instructions to Mr. Adams, as should subject him to the direction of the French cabinet.

The effect of this artful and strenuous measure was, a determination on the part of congress, that Mr. Adams should hold the most confidential intercourse with the French ministers; and should "undertake nothing in the negotiation of a peace, or truce, without their knowledge and concurrence."

Under these humiliating restrictions, the independent and decisive spirit of Mr. Adams was severely tried. The imperial mediators proposed an armistice, but without any withdrawal of troops from America. Mr. Adams firmly opposed this stipulation; and the negotiation proceeded no farther at that time.

It was, obviously, the policy of the French minister, not to facilitate the peace between Great Britain and the United States, without previously securing to France a large share in the fisheries; and at the same time so establishing the western boundary, as to sacrifice the interests of the United States to those of Spain.

Finding all attempts at negotiation unavailing, Mr. Adams returned to Holland.
Meantime, the apprehensions of congress being much excited by the insinuations of the French minister in Philadelphia, they added to the commission for forming a treaty with Great Britain, Dr. Franklin, then plenipotentiary at Paris ; Mr. Jay, the minister at Madrid ; Mr. Henry Laurens, who had recently been appointed special minister to France; and Mr. Jefferson. The whole were instructed to govern themselves by the advice and opinion of the ministers of the king of France. This unaccountable and dishonorable concession, in effect, made the Count de Vergennes minister plenipoteritiary for the United States.

But the indefatigable exertions of Mr. Adams in Holland, had a most important bearing upon the proposed negotiations. By a laborious and striking exhibition of the situation and resources of the United States, he succeeded in so far influencing public opinion, as to obtain a loan of eight millions of guilders, on reasonable terms. This loan, affected in the autumn of 1782, was soon followed by a treaty of amity and commerce with Holland, recognizing the United States as independent and sovereign states.

The disposition towards peace, on the part of the English ministry, was wonderfully quickened by the favorable negotiation of this loan. During Lord Shelburne's administration, the independence of the states was unconditionally acknowledged, and the first effectual steps were taken to put an end to the war.

During the negotiations that followed, the disposition of Trance again evinced itself, to cut off the United States from a share of the fisheries, and to transfer a portion of the American territory to Spain. The American commissioners, therefore, were not a little embarrassed by their instructions from congress, to govern themselves by the opinion and advice of the French minister. But, as Mr. Adams had, on a former occasion, found it necessary to depart from instructions of a similar import; the other commissioners now joined with him, in the determination to secure the best interests of their country, regardless of the interference of the French minister, and of the inconsiderate restrictions imposed on them by congress.

Accordingly, provisional articles were signed by them, on the 30th of November, 1782; and this measure was followed by an advantageous definitive treaty in September, 1783.
Mr. Adams spent a part of the year 1784 in Holland, but returned eventually to Paris, on being placed at the head of a commission, with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jefferson as coadjutors, to negotiate several commercial treaties with different foreign nations.

Near the commencement of the year 1785, congress resolved to send a minister plenipotentiary to represent the United States at the court of St. James. To this responsible station, rendered peculiarly delicate by the fact that the United States had so recently and reluctantly been acknowledged as an independent nation, Mr. Adams was appointed. It was doubtful in what manner and with what spirit an American minister would be received by the British government. On leaving America, Mr. Jay, the then secretary of state, among other instructions, used the following language: "The manner of your reception at that court, and its temper, views, and dispositions respecting American objects, are matters concerning which particular information might be no less useful than interesting. Your letters will, I am persuaded, remove all suspense on those points."

In accordance with this direction, Mr. Adams subsequently forwarded to Mr. Jay the following interesting account of his presentation to the king.

"During my interview with the marquis of Carmarthen, he told me it was customary for every foreign minister, at his first presentation to the king, to make his majesty some compliments conformable to the spirit of his credentials; and when Sir Clement Cottrel Dormer, the master of ceremonies, came to inform me that he should accompany me to the secretary of state, and to court, he said, that every foreign minister whom he had attended to the queen, had always made an harangue to her majesty, and he understood, though he had not been present, that they always harangued the king. On Tuesday evening, the Baron de Lynden (Dutch ambassador) called upon me, and said he came from the Baron de Nolkin, (Swedish envoy,) and had been conversing upon the singular situation I was in, and they agreed in opinion that it was indispensable that I should make a speech, and that it should be as complimentary as possible. All this was parallel to the advice lately given by the Count de Vergennes to Mr. Jefferson. So that finding it was a custom established at both these great courts, that this court and the foreign ministers expected it, I thought I could not avoid it, although my first thought and inclination had been to deliver my credentials silently and retire. At one, on 'Wednesday the first of June, the master of ceremonies called at my house, and went with me to the secretary of state's office, in Cleveland Row, where the marquis of Carmarthen received me, and introduced me to Mr. Frazier, his under secretary, who had been, as his lordship said, uninterruptedly in that office through all the changes in administration for thirty years, having first been appointed by the earl of Holderness. After a short conversation upon the subject of importing my effects from Holland and France, free of duty, which Mr. Frazier himself introduced, Lord Carmarthen invited me to go with him in his coach to court. When we arrived in the anti chamber, the ceil-de-boeuf of St. James's, the master of the ceremonies met me, and attended me, while the secretary of state went to take the commands of the king.

While I stood in this place, where it seems all ministers stand on such occasions, always attended by the master of ceremonies, the room very full of courtiers, as well as the next room, which is the king's bed chamber, you may well suppose, that I was the focus of all eyes.
"I was relieved, however, from the embarrassment of it by the Swedish and Dutch ministers, who came to me and entertained me in a very agreeable conversation during the whole time.

Some other gentlemen whom I had seen before came to make their compliments too, until the marquis of Carmarthen returned, and desired me to go with him to his majesty: I went with his lordship through the levee room into the king's closet; the door was shut, and I was left with his majesty and the secretary of state alone. I made the three reverences, one at the door, another about half way, and the third before the presence, according to the usage established at this and all the northern courts of Europe, and then addressed myself to his majesty in the following words:
"' Sir, the United States have appointed me their minister plenipotentiary to your majesty, and have directed me to deliver to your majesty this letter, which contains the evidence of it. It is in obedience to their express commands, that I have the honor to assure your majesty of their unanimous disposition and desire to cultivate the most friendly and liberal intercourse between your majesty's subjects and their citizens, and of their best wishes for your majesty's health and happiness, and for that of your royal family.

"The appointment of a minister from the United States to your majesty's court, will form an epoch in the history of England and America. I think myself more fortunate than all my fellow citizens, in having the distinguished honor to be the first to stand in your majesty's royal presence in a diplomatic character; and I shall esteem myself the happiest of men, if I can be instrumental in recommending my country more and more to your majesty's royal benevolence, and of restoring an entire esteem, confidence, and affection, or in better words, 'the old good nature, and the old good humor, between people who, though separated by an ocean, and under different governments, have the same language, a similar religion, and kindred blood. I beg your majesty's permission to add, that although I have sometimes before been entrusted by my country, it was never, in my whole life, in a manner so agreeable to myself.'

"The king listened to every word I said, with dignity, it is true, but with an apparent emotion. Whether it was the nature of the interview, or whether it was my visible agitation, for I felt more than I did or could express, that touched him, I cannot say, but he was much affected, and answered me with more tremor than I had spoken with, and said:
"' Sir, the circumstances of this audience are so extraordinary, the language you have now held is so extremely proper, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted to the occasion, that I must say, that I not only receive with pleasure the assurances of the friendly disposition of the people of the United States, but that I am very glad the choice has fallen upon you to be their minister. I wish you, sir, to believe, and that it may be understood in America, that I have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought myself indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed to my people. I will be very frank with you. I was the last to conform to the separation; but the separation having been made, and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States, as an independent power. The moment I see such sentiments and language as yours prevail, and a disposition to give this country the preference, that moment I shall say, let the circumstances of language, religion, and blood, have their natural and full effect.'

"I dare not say that these were the king's precise words, and it is even possible that I may have, in some particular, mistaken his meaning; for although his pronunciation is as distinct as I ever heard, he hesitated sometimes between his periods, and between the members of the same period. He was, indeed, much affected, and I was not less so ; and, therefore, I cannot be certain that I was so attentive, heard so clearly, and understood so perfectly, as to be confident of all his words or sense; this I do say, that the foregoing is his majesty's meaning, as I then understood it, and his own words, as nearly as I can recollect."

The year following, 1788, Mr. Adams requested permission to resign his office, which, being granted, after an absence of between eight and nine years, he returned to his native country. The new government was, at that time, about going into operation. In the autumn of 1788, he was elected vice president of the United States, a situation which he filled, with reputation for eight years.

On the retirement of General Washington from the presidency, in 1796, Mr. Adams was a candidate for that elevated station. At this time, two parties had been formed in the United States. At the head of one stood Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Adams, and at the head of the other stood Mr. Jefferson. After a close contest between these two parties, Mr. Adams was elected president, having received seventy-one of the electoral votes, and Mr. Jefferson sixty-eight. In March, 1797, these gentlemen entered upon their respective offices of president and vice president of the United States.

Of the administration of Mr. Adams we shall not, in this place, give a detailed account. Many circumstances conspired to render it unpopular. An unhappy dispute with France had arisen a little previously to his inauguration. In the management of this dispute, which had reference to aggressions by France upon American rights and commerce, the popularity of Mr. Adams was in no small degree affected, although the measures which he recommended for upholding the national character, were more moderate than congress, and a respectable portion of the people, thought the exigencies of the case required. Other circumstances, also, conspired to diminish his popularity. Restraints were imposed upon the press, and authority vested in the president to order aliens to depart out of the United States, when he should judge the peace and safety of the country required. To these measures, acts were added for raising a standing army, and imposing a direct tax and internal duties. These, and other causes, combined to weaken the strength of the party to whom he owed his elevation, and to prevent his re-election. He was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson, in 1801.

On retiring from the presidency he removed to his former residence at Quincy, where, in quiet, he spent the remainder of his days. In 1820, he voted as elector of president and vice president; and, in the same year, at the advanced age of 85, he was a member of the convention of Massachusetts, assembled to revise the constitution of that commonwealth.

Mr. Adams retained the faculties of his mind, in remarkable perfection, to the end of his long life. His unabated love of reading. and contemplation, added to an interesting circle of friendship and affection, were sources of felicity in declining years, which seldom fall to the lot of any one.

"But," to use the language of a distinguished eulogist, [Webster] "he had other enjoyments. He saw around him that prosperity and general happiness, which had been the object of his public cares and labors. No man ever beheld more clearly, and for a longer time, the great and beneficial effects of the services rendered by himself to his country. That liberty, which he so early defended, that independence, of which he was so able an advocate and supporter, he saw, we trust, firmly and securely established. The population of the country thickened around him faster, and extended wider, than his own sanguine predictions had anticipated; and the wealth, respectability, and power of the nation, sprang up to a magnitude, which it is quite impossible he could have expected to witness, in his day. He lived, also, to behold those principles of civil freedom, which had been developed, established, and practically applied in America, attract attention, command respect, and awaken imitation, in other regions of the globe; and well might, and well did he exclaim, 'Where will the consequences of the American revolution end!'

"If any thing yet remains to fill this cup of happiness, let it be added, that he lived to see a great and intelligent people bestow the highest honor in their gift, where he had bestowed his own kindest parental affections, and lodged his fondest hopes.

"At length the day approached when this eminent patriot was to be summoned to another world; and, as if to render that day forever memorable in the annals of American history, it was the day on which the illustrious Jefferson was himself, also, to terminate his distinguished earthly career. That day was the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of independence.
"Until within a few days previous, Mr. Adams had exhibited no indications of a rapid decline.

The morning of the fourth of July, 1826, he was unable to rise from his bed. Neither to himself, or his friends, however, was his dissolution supposed to be so near. He was asked to suggest a toast, appropriate to the celebration of the day. His mind seemed to glance back to the hour in which, fifty years before, he had voted for .the declaration of independence, and with the spirit with which he then raised his hand, he now exclaimed, 'Independence forever.' At four o'clock in the afternoon he expired. Mr. Jefferson had departed a few hours before him."

We close this imperfect sketch of the life of this distinguished man in the language of one who, from the relation in which {President Adams's Message] he stood to the subject of this memoir, must have felt, more than any other individual, the impressiveness of the event.

"They, (Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson,) departed cheered by the benediction of their country, to whom they left the inheritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright example. If we turn our thoughts to the condition of their country, in the contrast of the first and last day of that half century, how resplendent and sublime is the transition from gloom to glory! Then, glancing through the same lapse of time, in the condition of the individuals, we see the first day marked with the fullness and vigor of youth, in the pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to the cause of freedom and of mankind. And on the last, extended on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left to breathe a last aspiration to heaven of Messing upon their country; may we not humbly hope, that to them, too, it was a pledge of transition from gloom to glory; and that while their mortal vestments were sinking into the clod of the valley, their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of their God!"
[Source: Lives of the signers to the Declaration of independence; By Charles Augustus Goodrich; Publ. 1829; Page 92-112; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]

Robert Treat Paine was a native of Boston, where he was born, in the year 1731. His parents were pious and respectable. His father was for some years the settled pastor of a church in Weymouth, in the vicinity of Boston. His health failing him, however, he removed with his family to the latter place; where he entered into mercantile pursuits. His mother was the grand-daughter of Governor Treat of Connecticut.

At the early age of fourteen, he became a member of Harvard College; but of his collegiate course, little has been recorded. On leaving the university, he was engaged for some
time in a public school. As the fortune of his father had, from various circumstances, become much reduced, the support of his parents, with some other relations, seemed to devolve upon himself. In the acquisition of more ample means for their maintenance, he made a voyage to Europe. It was an honorable trait in his character, thus in the morning of life to exhibit such filial affection; a kindness of disposition, which he continued to manifest during his father's life.

Previously to his commencing the study of law, he devoted some time to the subject of theology, which tended to enlarge his views of Christianity, and to confirm his belief of its truth. In 1755, he served as chaplain to the troops of the province at the northward, and afterwards preached a few times in other places.

At length he directed his attention to the study of law, during which period, having no pecuniary assistance, he was obliged to resort again to the keeping of a school for his support. By most persons such a course would be deemed a serious evil; but experience has shown, that those who are obliged to depend upon their own energies for the means of education, generally enter upon their profession, if not with higher attainments, with more courage to encounter the difficulties with which almost every one meets, and they are more likely to attain to a high elevation, than those whose resources are abundant.

On being qualified for the practice of law, Mr. Paine established himself at Taunton, in the county of Bristol, where he resided for many years. We necessarily pass over several years of his life, during which we meet no occurrences of sufficient importance to merit a notice in these pages. It may be remarked, however, that at an early period, he took a deep interest in the various disputes which arose between the colonies and the British government. He was a delegate from Taunton, to a convention called by leading men of Boston, in 1768, in consequence of the abrupt dissolution of the general court by Governor Bernard. This convention the governor attempted to break up, but it continued in session several days, and adopted many spirited resolutions, designed to awaken In the people a greater attention to their rights, and to show to the ministry of England, that if those rights were violated, the provincial assembly would act independently of the governor.

Mr. Paine was engaged in the celebrated trial of Captain Preston, and his men, for the part they acted in the well known "Boston massacre" of 1770. On this occasion, in the absence of the attorney general, he conducted the prosecution on the part of the crown. Although only a fragment of his address to the jury, at this time, has been preserved, it appears that he managed the cause with the highest reputation to himself, both in regard to his honor as a faithful advocate, and at the same time as a friend to the just rights of those against whom he acted as council.

From this time, Mr. Paine appeared still more conspicuously as the friend of liberty, in opposition to the tyrannical and oppressive measures of the British administration. In 1773, he was elected a representative to the general assembly, from the town of Taunton. It was now becoming a period of great alarm in the colonies. Men of principle and talent were selected to guard the ancient rights of the colonies, and to point to those measures which, in the approaching crisis, it was proper to pursue. It was a high honor, therefore, for any one to be elected a representative of the people. The rights, the liberties, ;ad even the lives of their constituents were placed in their hands; it was of the utmost importance that they should be men of sagacity, patriotism, and principle. Such, fortunately for the colonies, were the men who represented them in their provincial assemblies, and in the continental congress.

Of this latter body, Mr. Paine was elected a member in 1774. A general account of the proceedings of this assembly has already been given. At that time a separation from the parent country was not generally contemplated, although to more discerning minds, such an event appeared not improbable, and that at no distant day. The congress of 1774, were appointed mainly to deliberate and de(.ermine upon the measures proper to be pursued, to secure the enjoyment and exercise of rights guaranteed to the colonies by their charters, and for the restitution of union and harmony between the two countries, which was still desired by all.

Accordingly they proceeded no farther at that time, than to address the people of America, petition the king, state their grievances, assert their rights, and recommend the suspension of importations from Great Britain into the colonies.

The assembling of such a body, and for objects of so questionable a character, was a bold step; and bold must have been the men, who could thus openly appear on the side of the colonies, in opposition to the British ministry, and the royal power. In concluding their session, in October of the same year, they presented a solemn appeal to the world, stating that innovation was not their object, but only the preservation and maintenance of the rights which, as subjects of Great Britain, had been granted to them by their ancient charters. "Had we been permitted," say they, " to enjoy in quiet the inheritance left us by our fathers, we should, at this time, have been peaceably, cheerfully, and usefully employed in recommending ourselves, by every testimony of devotion to his majesty, and of veneration to the state from which we derive our origin. Though now exposed to unexpected and unnatural scenes of distress, by a contention with that nation, in whose general guidance, on all important occasions, we have hitherto with filial reverence constantly trusted, and therefore tan derive no instruction, in our present unhappy and perplexing circumstances, from any former experience; yet we doubt not, the purity of our intentions, and the integrity of our conduct, will justify us at that great tribunal, before which all mankind must submit to judgment. We ask but for peace, liberty, and safety.

We wish not a diminution of the royal prerogatives; nor do we solicit the grant of any new right in our favor."

To the continental congress, which met at Philadelphia in May, 1775, Mr. Paine was again a delegate from Massachusetts. At that time, the colonies were greatly in want of gunpowder. The manufacture of salt petre, one of its constituents, was but imperfectly understood. Congress appointed a committee, of which Mr. Paine was chairman, to introduce the manufacture of it. In this particular, he rendered essential service to his country, by making extensive inquiries into the subject, and by inducing persons in various parts of the provinces to engage in the manufacture of the article. The following is among the letters which he wrote on this subject, which, while it shows his indefatigable attention to the subject, will convey to the present generation some idea of the multiform duties of the patriots of the revolution. Mr. Paine also rendered himself highly useful, as a member of a committee for the encouragement of the manufacture of cannon, and other implements of war.

Philadelphia, June 10th, 1775. My very dear Sir,
I cannot express to you the surprise and uneasiness I received on hearing the congress express respecting the want of gunpowder; it was always a matter that lay heavy on my mind; but the observation I made of your attention to it, (Mid your alertness and perseverance in everything you undertake, and your repeatedly expressing it as your opinion that we had probably enough for this summer's campaign, made me quite easy. I rely upon it that measures are taken in your parts of the continent to supply this defect. The design of your express will be zealously attended to, I think. I have seen one of the powder mills here, where they make excellent powder, but have worked up all the nitre; one of our members is concerned in a powder mill at New York, and has a man at work making nitre. I have taken pains to inquire into the method. Dr. Franklin has seen salt-petre works at Hanover and Paris; and it strikes me to be as unnecessary, after a certain time, to send abroad for gunpowder, as for bread; provided people will make use of common understanding and industry; but for the present we must import from abroad. Major Foster told me, at Hartford, he suspected he had some land that would yield nitre; pray converse with him about it. Dr. Franklin's account is much the game as is mentioned in one of the first of the American magazines; the sweeping of the streets, and rubbish of old buildings, ate made into mortar, and built into walls, exposed to the air, and once in about two months scraped and lixiviated, and evaporated; when I can describe the method more minutely, I will write you ; meanwhile, give me leave to condole with you the loss of Colonel Lee. Pray remember me to Colonel Orne, and all other our worthy friends. Pray take care of your important health, that you may be able to stand stiff as a pillar in our new go eminent.
I must now subscribe, with great respect and affection,
Your humble servant,
R. T. Paine.

Of the congress of 1776, Mr. Paine was also a member; and to the declaration of independence, which that body published to the world, he gave his vote, and affixed his name. In the December following, the situation of congress became justly alarming. The British army were, at this time, making rapid advances through New-Jersey, towards Philadelphia. The troops of Washington, amounting to scarcely one third of the British force, it was thought would not be able to resist their progress, or prevent their taking possession of Philadelphia. During the alarm excited by an approaching foe, congress adjourned to Baltimore. Of the state of congress, at this time, the following letter of Mr. Paine gives an interesting account.

"Our public affairs have been exceedingly agitated since I wrote you last. The loss of fort Washington made way for that of fort Lee; and the dissolution of our army happening at the same time, threw us into a most disagreeable situation. The interception of an express gave the enemy full assurance of what they must have had some knowledge of before, the state of our army ; and they took the advantage of it. In two days after the possession of fort Lee, on the 20th of November, where we lost much baggage, and the chief of our battering cannon, they marched to the Hackensack, and thence to Newark, driving General Washington before them, with his 3000 men; thence to Elizabethtown. General Washington supposed, from the best information he could get, that they were 10,000 strong; marching with a large body of horse in front, and a very large train of artillery. We began to be apprehensive they were intended for Philadelphia; and congress sat all Sunday in determining proper measures on the occasion. I cannot describe to you the situation of this city. The prospect was really alarming. Monday, 9th ; yesterday, General Washington crossed the Delaware, and the enemy arrived at Trenton on this side, thirty miles from this place; close quarters for Congress! It obliges us to move; we have resolved to go to Baltimore."

For the years 1777 and 1778, Mr. Paine was a member of congress, during the intervals of whose sessions, he filled several important offices in the state of Massachusetts. In 1780, he was called to take a part in the deliberations of the convention, which met for the purpose of forming a constitution for the commonwealth. Of the committee which framed that excellent instrument, he was a conspicuous member. Under the government organized according to this constitution, he was appointed attorney general, an office which he continued to hold until 1790, when he was transferred to a seat on the bench of the supreme judicial court. In this situation he remained till the year 1804, at which time he had attained to the advanced age of 73 years. As a lawyer, Mr. Paine ranked high among his professional brethren. His legal attainments were extensive. In the discharge of his duties as attorney general, he had the reputation of unnecessary severity; but fidelity in that station generally provokes the censure of the lawless and licentious. Towards the abandoned and incorrigible he was indeed severe, and was willing that the law in all its penalties should be visited upon them. But where crime was followed by repentance, he could be moved to tenderness; and while, in the discharge of his official duty, he took care that the law should not fall into disrespect through his inefficiency, he at the same time was ever ready to recommend such as might deserve it to executive clemency.

The important duties of a judge, he discharged with honor and great impartiality for the space of fourteen years. During the latter part of this time, he was affected with a deafness, which, in a measure, impaired his usefulness on the bench. Few men have rendered more important services to the literary and religious institutions of a country, than did Judge Paine.

He gave them all the support and influence of his office, by urging upon grand jurors the faithful execution of the laws, the support of schools, and the preservation of a strict morality.
The death of Judge Paine occurred on the eleventh of May, 1814, having attained to the age of 84 years. Until near the close of life, the vigor of his mental faculties continued unimpaired. In quickness of apprehension, liveliness of imagination, and general intelligence, he had few superiors. His memory was of the most retentive character, and he was highly distinguished for a sprightly and agreeable turn in conversation. A witty severity sometimes excited the temporary disquietude of a friend; but if he was sometimes inclined to indulge in pleasant raillery, he was willing to be the subject of it in his turn.

As a scholar, he ranked high among literary men, and was distinguished for his patronage of all the useful institutions of the country. He was a founder of the American Academy established in Massachusetts in 1780, and active in its service until his death. The honorary degree of doctor of laws was conferred upon him by Harvard University.

Judge Paine was a firm believer in the divine origin of the Christian religion. He gave full credence to the scriptures, as a revelation from God, designed to instruct mankind in a knowledge of their duty, and to guide them in the way to eternal happiness.
[Source: Lives of the signers to the Declaration of independence; By Charles Augustus Goodrich; Publ. 1829; Pages 112-120; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]

Elbridge Gerry was born at Marblehead, in the state of Massachusetts, on the seventeenth day of July, 1744. His father was a native of Newton, of respectable parentage and connections. He emigrated to America in 1730, soon after which, he established himself as a merchant in Marblehead, where he continued to reside until his death, in 1774. He was much esteemed and respected, as a man of judgment and discretion.

Of the early habits or manners of young Elbridge, little is known. He became a member of Harvard College before he had completed his fourteenth year; and of course was too young at the university to acquire any decided character.

Mr. Gerry was originally destined to the profession of medicine, to which his own inclination strongly attached him. But soon after leaving college, he engaged in commercial affairs, under the direction of his father, and for some years followed the routine of mercantile business in his native town. Great success attended his commercial enterprise; and within a few years, he found himself in the enjoyment of a competent fortune.

It is natural to suppose that the superior education of Mr. Gerry, added to the respectable character he sustained, as a man of probity and judgment, gave him influence over the people among whom he resided. In May, 1772, the people of Marblehead manifested their respect and confidence by sending him a representative to the general court of the province of Massachusetts. In May of the following year, Mr. Gerry was re-elected to the same office.

During the session of the general court that year, Mr. Samuel Adams introduced his celebrated motion for the appointment of a standing committee of correspondence and inquiry.

In accordance with this motion, committees of correspondence were appointed throughout the province, by means of which intelligence was freely circulated abroad, and a spirit of patriotism was infused through all parts of the country. Though one of the youngest members, Mr. Gerry was appointed by the house of representatives, a member of this committee ; in all the proceedings of which, he took an active and prominent part.

In the month of June, the celebrated letters of Governor Hutchinson to persons in England, were laid before the house by Mr. Adams. The object of these letters, as noticed in a preceding page, was to encourage the British administration in maintaining their arbitrary measures. In the debates which ensued on the disclosure of these letters, Mr. Gerry distinguished himself, and was indefatigably engaged through the year, in forwarding the resolute measures, which combined to overthrow the royal government of the province. He was also particularly active in the scenes which marked the year 1774. He united in the opposition to the importation of tea, and to the Boston port bill; and heartily concurred in the establishment of a system of non-intercourse with the parent country.

In the month of August, Governor Gage issued his precepts to the several towns, to choose representatives to meet at Salem, the first week in October. Before the arrival of that day, the governor had countermanded their meeting. Notwithstanding this prohibition, delegates assembled at Salem on the seventh of October. There having formed themselves into a provincial congress, they adjourned to Concord, and proceeded to business. Of this congress Mr. Gerry was an active and efficient member.

On the organization of the assembly, a committee was appointed to consider the state of the province. Fourteen of the most distinguished members of the congress, among whom was Mr. Gerry, composed this committee. They published a bold and energetic appeal, which, in the form of an address to Governor Gage, was calculated to justify the authority they had assumed, to awaken their constituents to a sense of the dangers they feared, and the injuries they had sustained.

They next appointed a committee of safety, and adopted measures to obtain a supply of arms and ammunition of which the province was lamentably deficient. They re-organized the militia, appointed general officers, and took such other measures as the approaching crisis seemed to render necessary.

In February, 1775, a new provincial congress, of which Mr. Gerry was a member, assembled in Cambridge. This congress, like the former one, published an appeal to the people, designed to excite and regulate that patriotic spirit, which the emergency required. A general apprehension prevailed, that a pacific termination of the existing troubles was not to be expected. They avowed their abhorrence of actual hostilities, but still maintained their right to arm in defense of their country, and to prepare themselves to resist with the sword.

In the spring of 1775, the prospect of open war every day increased. A strong apprehension prevailed, that an attempt would be made by the royal governor to destroy such military stores as had been collected, particularly at Concord and Worcester. The committee of safety, in their solicitude on this subject, stationed a watch at each of these places, to give an alarm to the surrounding country should such an attempt be made.

A short period only elapsed, before the apprehensions of the people proved not to be without foundation. The expedition to Concord, and the bloody scenes which occurred both there and at Lexington, ushered in the long expected contest. "Among the objects of this expedition," observes Mr. Austin, in his life of Mr. Gerry, "one was to seize the persons of some of the influential members of Congress, and to hold them as hostages for the moderation of their colleagues, or send them to England for trial as traitors, and thus strike dismay and terror into the minds of their associates and friends.

"A committee of congress, among whom were Mr. Gerry, Colonel Orne, and Colonel Hancock, had been in session on the day preceding the march of the troops, in the village of Monotony, then part of the township of Cambridge, on the road to Lexington. The latter gentleman, after the session was over, had gone to Lexington. Mr. Gerry and Mr. Orne remained at the village, the other members of the committee had dispersed.

"Some officers of the royal army had been sent out in advance, who passed through the villages just before dusk, in the afternoon of the 18th of April, and although the appearance of similar detachments was not uncommon, these so far attracted the attention of Mr. Gerry, that he dispatched an express to Colonel Hancock, who, with Samuel Adams, was at Lexington. The messenger passed the officers, by taking a by-path, and delivered his letter. The idea of personal danger does not seem to have made any strong impression on either of these gentlemen. Mr. Hancock's answer to Mr. Gerry bears marks of the haste with which it was written, while it discovers that habitual politeness on the part of the writer, which neither haste or danger could impair.

Lexington, April 18th, 1775. Dear Sir,
I am much obliged for your notice. It is said the officers are gone to Concord, and I will send word thither. I am full with you, that we ought to be serious, and I hope your decision will be effectual. I intend doing myself the pleasure of being with you to-morrow. My respects to the committee.
I am your real friend,
John Hancock.

Mr. Gerry and Colonel Orne retired to rest, without taking the least precaution against personal exposure, and they remained quietly in their beds, until the British advance were within view of the dwelling house. It was a fine moonlight night, and they quietly marked the glittering of its beams, on the polished arms of the soldiers, as the troops moved with the silence and regularity of accomplished discipline. The front passed on. When the centre were opposite to the house, occupied by the committee, an officer and file of men were detached by signal, and marched towards it. It was not until this moment they entertained any apprehension of danger. While the officer was posting his files, the gentlemen found means, by their better knowledge of the premises, to escape, half dressed as they were, into an adjoining cornfield, where they remained concealed for more than an hour, until the troops were withdrawn. Every apartment of the house was searched for the members of the rebel congress; even the beds in which they had lain were examined. But their property, and among other things, a valuable watch of Mr. Gerry's, which was under his pillow, was not disturbed."

A few days after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, the provincial congress re-assembled. It was now apparent that the controversy must be decided by force of arms. At this time, it was found that almost every article of a military kind was yet to be procured. The province possessed no magazines of arms, and had little ammunition. No contracts for provision or clothing had yet been made. To meet these exigencies, a committee, at the head of which was Mr. Gerry, was immediately appointed, and clothed with the proper power. The article most needed was that of gunpowder, to procure which, Mr. Gerry was specially commissioned by the committee. In the discharge of this duty, he wrote many letters to gentlemen in different parts of the country, from whom he received others in reply. One of these will be found in the life of Robert Treat Paine, in a preceding page. Mr. Gerry did more: in many cases he hesitated not to advance his own funds, where immediate payment was required. In the progress of the war, the evidence of these payments was lost, or mislaid, and their final settlement was attended with heavy pecuniary loss.

On the 17th day of June, was fought the celebrated battle of Bunker Hill. The provincial congress was at that time in session, at Watertown. Before the battle, Dr. Joseph Warren, president of the congress, who was the companion and room mate of Mr. Gerry, communicated to the latter his intention of mingling in the expected contest. The night preceding the doctor's departure for Bunker Hill, he lodged, it is said, in the same bed with Mr. Gerry. In the morning, in reply to the admonitions of his friend, as he was about to leave him, he uttered the well known words, "Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori."

Mr. Gerry, on that day, attended the provincial congress. His brave friend, as is well known, followed where his duty called him, to the memorable "heights of Bunker," where he fell fighting for the cause of liberty and his country.

At an early period in 1775, Mr. Gerry submitted a proposal in the provincial congress of Massachusetts, for a law to encourage the fitting out of armed vessels, and to provide for the adjudication of prizes. This was a step of no small importance. To grant letters of marquee and of reprisal, is the prerogative of the sovereign. For a colony to authorize such an act, was rebellious, if not treasonable. The proposal was sustained, though not without opposition. Mr. Gerry was chairman of the committee appointed to prepare the act to authorize privatering, and to establish admiralty courts. Governor Sullivan was another member of it; and on these two gentlemen devolved the task of drawing the act, which they executed in a small room under the belfry of the Watertown meeting house, in which the provincial congress was holding its session. This law, John Adams pronounced one of the most important measures of the Revolution. Under the sanction of it, the Massachusetts cruisers captured many of the enemy's vessels, the cargoes of which furnished various articles of necessity to the colonies.
Of the court of admiralty, established in pursuance of the law proposed by Mr. Gerry, that gentleman himself was appointed a judge, for the counties of Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex. This honor, however, he declined, from a determination to devote himself to more active duties.
* It is sweet and glorious to lay down life for one's country.

To such duties, he was not long after called, by the suffrages of his fellow citizens, who elected him a delegate from Massachusetts to the continental congress, in which body he took his seat, on the 9th of February, 1776. For this distinguished station he was eminently fitted; and of this
body he continued a member with few intervals, until September, 1785. Our limits preclude a minute notice of the various duties which he there discharged. On various occasions he was appointed to serve on committees, whose business required great labor, and whose results involved the highest interests of the country. He assisted in arranging the plan of a general hospital, and of introducing a better discipline into the army; and regulating the commissary's departments. In several instances, he was appointed, with others, to visit the army, to examine the state of the money and finances of the country, and to expedite the settlement of public accounts. In the exercise of his various official functions, no man exhibited more fidelity, or a more unwearied zeal. He sustained the character of an active and resolute statesman, and retired from the councils of the confederacy, with all the honors which patriotism, integrity, and talents, could -acquire in the service of the state. Before leaving New-York, he married a respectable lady, who had been educated in Europe, with whom he now returned to Massachusetts, and fixed his residence at Cambridge, a few miles from Boston.

From the quiet of retirement, Mr. Gerry was again summoned in 1787, by his native state, as one of its representatives to a convention, called for the "sole and express purpose of revising the articles of confederation, and reporting to congress, and to the several legislatures, such alterations and provisions as shall render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the union."

On the meeting of this convention, little difference of opinion prevailed, as to the great principles which should form the basis of the constitution; but on reducing these principles to a system, perfect harmony did exist. To Mr. Gerry, as well as others, there appeared strong objections to the constitution, and he declined affixing his signature to the instrument. These objections he immediately set forth, in a letter addressed to his constituents, in which he observes:

"My principal objections to the plan are, that there is no adequate provision for a representation of the people; that they have no security for the right of election; that some of the powers of the legislature are ambiguous, and others indefinite and dangerous; that the executive is blended with, and will have an undue influence over, the legislature; that the judicial department will be oppressive; that treaties of the highest importance may be formed by the president, with the advice of two thirds of a quorum of the senate; and that the system is without the security of a bill of rights. These are objections which are not local, but apply equally to all the states.

"As the convention was called for 'the sole and express purpose of revising the articles of confederation, and reporting to congress and to the several legislatures, such alterations and provisions as shall render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the union,' I did not conceive that these powers extended to the formation of the plan proposed; but the convention being of a different opinion, I acquiesced in it; being fully convinced, that to preserve the union, an efficient government was indispensably necessary; and that it would be difficult to make proper amendments to the articles of confederation."

"The constitution proposed has few, if any, federal features, but is rather a system of national government; nevertheless, in many respects, I think it has great merit, and, by proper amendments, may be adapted to 'the exigencies of government,' and the preservation of liberty."

When the constitution was submitted to the state convention of Massachusetts, of three hundred and sixty members, of which that body consisted, a majority of nineteen only were in favor of its ratification. Although so many coincided with Mr. Gerry in his views of the constitution, he was highly censured by its advocates, who, under the excitement of party feelings, imputed to him motives by which he, probably, %vas not actuated.

Under the new constitution, Mr. Gerry was chosen by the inhabitants of the district in which he resided, as their representative to congress. In this station he served his constituents for four years; and, although he had formerly opposed the adoption of the constitution, he now cheerfully united in carrying it into effect, since it had received the sanction of his country.

Indeed, he took occasion, on the floor of congress, not long after taking his seat in that body, to declare, "that the federal constitution having become the supreme law of the land, he conceived the salvation of the country depended on its being carried into effect."

At the expiration of the above period, although again proposed as a delegate to congress, he declined a re-election, and again retired to his family at Cambridge.

On the fourth of March, 1797, Mr. Adams, who had previously been elected to succeed General Washington in the presidency, entered upon that office. France had already commenced her aggressions on the rights and commerce of the United States, and General Pinckney had been dispatched to that country, to adjust existing differences.

Immediately upon succeeding to the presidency, Mr. Adams received intelligence that the French republic had announced to General Pinckney its determination "not to receive another minister from the United States, until after the redress of grievances."

In this state of things, the president convened congress by proclamation, on the fifteenth of June. Although keenly sensible of the indignity offered to the country by the French government, Mr. Adams, in his speech to congress, informed that body, " that as he believed neither the honor, nor the interests of the United States, absolutely forbade the repetition of advances for securing peace and friendship with France, he should institute a fresh attempt at negotiation." Upon his recommendation, therefore, three envoys extraordinary, Mr. Gerry, General Pinckney, and Mr. Marshall, were dispatched to carry into effect the pacific dispositions of the United States. On their arrival at Paris, the French directory, under various pretexts, delayed to acknowledge them in their official capacity. In the mean time, the tools of that government addressed them, demanding, in explicit terms, a large sum of money, as the condition of any negotiation. This being refused, an attempt was next made to excite their fears for themselves, and their country. In the spring of 179S, two of the envoys, Messrs. Pinckney and Marshall, were ordered to quit the territories of France, while Mr. Gerry was invited to remain, and resume the negotiation which had been suspended.

Although Mr. Gerry accepted the invitation to remain, yet he uniformly and resolutely refused to resume the negotiation. His object in remaining in France was to prevent an immediate rupture with that country, which, it was apprehended, would result from his departure. Although he was censured, at the time, for the course he took, his continuance seems to have resulted in the good of his country. "He finally saved the peace of the nation," said the late President Adams, " for he alone discovered and furnished the evidence that X. Y. and Z. were employed by Talleyrand; and he alone brought home the direct, formal, and official assurances upon which the subsequent commission proceeded, and peace was made."

On his return to America, in October, 1798, Mr. Gerry was solicited, by the republican party in Massachusetts, to become their candidate for the office of governor. At that period, much excitement prevailed on the subject of politics, throughout the country. Although at first unsuccessful, his party, in 1805, for the first time, obtained the governor of their choice.

In the following year, Mr. Gerry retired. But in 1810, he Was again chosen chief .magistrate of that commonwealth, in which office he was continued for the two following years. In 1812, he was recommended to the people of the United States, by the republican members of congress, to fill the office of vice president. To a letter addressed to him, by a committee announcing his nomination, he replied, "The question respecting the acceptance, or non-acceptance of this proposition, involved many considerations of great weight, in my mind; as they related to the nation, to this state, and to my domestic concerns. But it is neither expedient or necessary to state the points, since one was paramount to the rest, that ' in a republic, the service of each citizen is due to the state, even in profound peace, and much more so when the nation stands on the threshold of war.' I have the honor frankly to acknowledge this distinguished testimony of confidence, on the part of my congressional friends and fellow citizens, gratefully to accept their proffer, and freely to assure them of every exertion in my power, for meriting in office the approbation of themselves and of the public."

The nomination of Mr. Gerry, thus made, was followed by his election, and on the fourth of March, 1813, he was inaugurated vice president of the United States. Providence, however, had not destined him to the long enjoyment of the dignified station which he now held. While attending to his duties, at Washington, he was suddenly summoned from the scene of his earthly labors. A beautiful monument, erected at the national expense, covers his remains, and records the date and circumstances of his death.

Vice President of the United States,
Who died suddenly, in this city, on his way to the
Capitol, as President of the Senate,
November 23d, 1814.
Aged 70.

[Source: Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence; By Charles Augustus Goodrich; Publ. 1829; Page 120-131; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


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