The Moniker – “The Last Puritan”

Many wonder where I Samuel Adams, received the moniker “The Last Puritan.”  It began by the teaching of my mother and father in the truths of the Christian religion from the Puritan principles of truth and the faith to stand firmly planted on these principles.  I was imbued with the message of Liberty that the Gospel principles reveal and always the inspirational messages of the ministers in the pulpits that taught complete Liberty in Jesus and in government.  “As the patriots have prevailed, the preachers of each sermon have been the zealous friends of liberty; and the passages most adapted to promote the spread and love of it have been selected and circulated far and wide by means of newspapers, and read with avidity and a degree of veneration on account of the preacher and his election to the service of the day.  Commendations, both public and private, have not been wanting to help on the design.  Thus, by their labors in the pulpit, and by furnishing the prints with occasional essays, the ministers have forwarded and strengthened, and that not a little, the opposition to the exercise of that parliamentary claim of right to bind the colonies in all cases what ever.”

It is critical to understand that as much as I was the igniter for the brushfires of liberty, “The ministers were now to instruct the people, to reason before them and with them, to appeal to them; and so, by their very position and relation, the people were constituted the judges.  They were called upon to decide; they also reasoned; and in this way – as the conflicts in the church respected polity rather than doctrine – the Puritans, and especially the New Englanders, had, from the very beginning, been educated in the consideration of its elementary principles. “  It is about educated principles and being able to articulate as well as implement them in all of ones life.  I stood on the principles of my youth and the Patriots that I engaged with did likewise.  Not only that, many of the general population took interest in their government so much so that they studied the law and the English Constitution.  We would not be slave to Parliament!  We would not allow them to usurp and pervert the law for their tyrannical purposes.  We were able to stand on the principles preached from the pulpits and learned from studying the Constitution of our day.

“It was recognized by Edmund Burke, in his speech of March 22nd 1775, “on conciliation with the colonies.”  “Permit me, sir,” he said,  “to add another circumstance in our colonies, which contributes no men part towars the growth and effect of this untractable spirit, –  mean their education.  In no country in the world, perhaps, is the law so general a study.  The profession itself is numerous and powerful, and in most provinces it takes the lead.  The greater number of deputies sent to the congress” – at Philadelphia – “were lawyers.  But all who read – and most do read – endeavor to obtain some smattering in that science.  I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business, after tracts of popular devotion, were so many books as those on the law exported to the plantations.  The colonist have now fallen into the way of printing them for their own use.  I hear that they have sold nearly as many of Blackstone’s Commentaries in America as in England.  General Gage marks out this disposition very particularly in a letter on your table.  He states that all the people in his government are lawyers, or smatterers in law; and that in Boston they have been enabled, by successful chicane, wholly to evade many parts of your capital penal constitutions…. Abeunt studia in mores (Studies transformed into morals or character).  This study renders men, acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defence, full of resources.  In other countries, the people, more simple, and of less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance; here,” – in the colonies – “they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle.  They augur misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.”

“Mr. Webster studied this phase of our history, He says our fathers “went to war against a  preamble; they fought seven years against a declaration;” that “we are not to wait till great public mischiefs come, till the government is overthrown, or liberty itself put in extreme jeopardy.  We should not be worthy sons of our fathers were we so to regard great questions affecting the general freedom.  Those fathers accomplished the Revolution on a strict question of principle.  The Parliament of Great Britain asserted a right to tax the colonies in all cases whatsoever; and it was precisely on this question that they made the Revolution turn.  The amount of taxation was trifilin, but the claim itself was inconsistent with liberty; and that was, in their eyes, enough!  It was against the recital of an act of Parliament, rather than against any suffering under its enactments, that they took up arms.”  My fellow Patriots “poured out their treasures and their blood like water, in a contest in opposition to an assertion, which those less sagacious, and not so well schooled in the principles of civil liberty, would have regarded as barren phraseology, or mere parade of words.”

How so in your 21st Century are the threats to liberty abounding by the usurpation and tyranny that is covered in the disguise of the Constitution.  You know that I was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and I wrote the Declaration – The Rights of the Colonist in 1772.  You must go back to these Declarations and look at the charges against the Crown and Parliament.  You will see a great parallel on the attacks of Liberty today as it was then.  You must then choose to stand against tyranny as we did as I said then, Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.  No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.  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.

Lastly – 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 counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

 

References: The Pulpit of the American Revolution and the Writings of Samuel Adams

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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