Patriot Samuel Adams was born this day in 1722. Adams was one of the men behind the Boston Tea Party, was a delegate to the Continental Congress 1774-1781, signed the Declaration of Independence, and served as Governor of Massachusetts (1794-1797). When he wasn't showing more political courage, backbone and conviction than every elected person currently in Washington, D. C., he brewed beer. From what I understand, he was a far better politician than a brewer. It's in this connection that most people know about him today (I don't even want to think about how many college freshman know what the Boston Tea Party is...), his name is now attached to a very fine beer (not a great one, mind you), but one worthy of the name.
Thomas Jefferson called him the "Patriarch of Liberty," his cousin John (you may have heard of him) said:
Without the character of Samuel Adams, the true history of the American Revolution can never be written. For fifty years his pen, his tongue, his activity, were constantly exerted for his country without fee or reward.
Here's a few gems of wisdom from his pen:
If Virtue & Knowledge are diffus'd among the People, they will never be enslav'd. This will be their great Security.
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands of those who feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you. May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.
Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all?
A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.
If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions.
All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they should.
He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of this country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.
If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.