History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV.
THE TOWNS OF MASSACHUSETTS MEET IN CONVENTION. A FRENCH
COMMONWEALTH IN LOUISIANA. HILLSBOROUGH SECRETARY
FOR THE COLONIES.

SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 1768.

THE approach of military rule convinced Samuel Adams of the necessity of American independence. He gave himself to his work as devotedly as though he had in his keeping the liberties of mankind. “He was,” said Bernard, “one of the principal and most desperate of the chiefs of the faction;” “the all in all,” wrote Hutchinson, who wished him “taken off,” and who has left on record that his purity was always above all price. To promote the independence of his country, he was ready to serve, and never claim the reward of service. From a town of merchants and mechanics, Boston grew with him to be the hope of the world; and the sons of toil, as they perilled fortune and life for the liberties they inherited, rose to be, and to feel themselves to be, the champions of human freedom.

With the people of Boston, in the street, at public meetings, at the ship-yards, wherever he met them, he reasoned that it would be just to destroy every soldier whose foot should touch the shore. “The king,” he would say, “has no right to send troops here to invade the country; if they come, they will come as foreign enemies.” “We will not submit to any tax,” he spoke out, “nor become slaves. We will take up arms, and spend our last drop of blood before the king and parliament shall impose on us, or settle crown officers, independent of the colonial legislature, to dragoon us.” Not reverence for kings, he would say, brought the ancestors of New

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