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I never had my affections more tenderly awakened; nor do I remember an incident in my life, where the dissipated spirits, to which my reason had been a bubble, were so suddenly called home. Mechanical as the notes were, yet 5 so true in tune to nature were they chanted, that in one moment they overthrew all my systematic reasonings upon the Bastile; and I heavily walked up stairs, unsaying every word I had said in going down them.
Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery! said I —
10 still thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account. It is thou, thrice sweet and gracious goddess, addressing myself to Liberty, whom all, in public or in private, worship, whose taste is grateful, and
15 ever will be so, till Nature herself shall change—no tint of words can spot thy snowy mantle, or chymic power turn thy sceptre into iron — with thee to smile upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is happier than his monarch, from whose court thou art exiled. Gracious heaven! cried I,
20 kneeling down upon the last step but one in my ascent — grant me but health, thou great Bestower of it; and give me but this fair goddess as my companion — and shower down thy mitres, if it seems good unto thy divine providence, upon those heads which are aching for them.
25 The bird in his cage pursued me into my room; I sat down close to my table, and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I gave full scope to my imagination.
30 I was going to begin with the millions of my fellowcreatures born to no inheritance but slavery; but finding, however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitudes of sad groups in it did but distract me — I took a single captive, and having first
35 shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked through the twilight of his grated door to take his picture.
I beheld his body half wasted away with long expectation and confinement, and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it was which arises from hope deferred. Upon looking nearer, I saw him pale and feverish; in thirty years 5 the western breeze had not once fanned his blood—he had seen no sun, no moon in all that time — nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice: —his children — But here my heart began to bleed, and I was forced to go on with another part of the portrait.
10 He was sitting upon the ground upon a little straw, in the farthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed; a little calendar of small sticks was laid at his bed, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there — he had one of these little
15 sticks in his hand, and with a rusty nail he was etching another day of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door, then cast it down, shook his head, and went on with his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his
20 legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh — I saw the iron enter into his soul— I burst into tears — I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn.
XXVII. —CHARACTER OF SAMUEL ADAMS. Tudor.
[william Tudor was born in Boston, January 28, 1770, and died in Rio Janeiro, March 9,1630. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1793. lie was the author of " Letters on the Eastern States," a " Life of James Otis," and a volume of *' Miscellanies," and contributed many articles to the " Monthly Anthology," and the " North American Review" of which latter he was the first editor. He was charge d'affaires for the United States, in Brazil, at the time of his death. An anonymous work published in 1829, called "Gebel Teir," waa by him. He was one of the founders of the Boston Athenaeum, and to him the country is indebted for the first suggestion of the Bunker Hill Monument. He was a correct and scholarly writer, and a most estimable and amiable num.
The following extract is from the " Life of James Otis."
Mr- Adams was one of that class who saw very early, that, "after all, we must fight" — and having come to that conclusion, there was no citizen more prepared for the extremity, or who would have been more reluctant to entei 5 into any kind of compromise. After he had received warning, at Lexington, in the night of the 18th of April, of the intended British expedition, as he proceeded to make his escape through the fields with some friends, soon after the dawn of day, he exclaimed, "this is a fine day."
10 "Very pleasant, indeed," answered one of his companions, supposing he alluded to the beauty of the sky and atmosphere. "I mean," he replied, "this day is a glorious day for America!" His situation at that moment was full of peril and uncertainty; but throughout the contest, no
15 damage either to himself or his country ever discouraged or depressed him.
The very faults of his character tended, in some degree, to render his services more useful, by converging his exertions to one point, and preventing their being weakened by
20 indulgence or liberality towards different opinions. There was some tinge of bigotry and narrowness, both in his religion and politics. He was a strict Calvinist; and probably no individual of his day had so much of the feelings of the ancient puritans, as he possessed. In politics, he
25 was so jealous of delegated power, that he would not have given our Constitutions inherent force enough for their own preservation. He attached an exclusive value to the habits and principles in which he had been educated, and wished to adjust wide concerns too closely after a particular model.
30 One of his colleagues, who knew him well, and estimated him highly, described him with good-natured exaggeration in the following manner: "Samuel Adams would have the state of Massachusetts govern the Union, the town of Boston govern Massachusetts, and that he should govern
35 the town of Boston, and then the whole would not be intentionally ill-governed."
He possessed an energy of will that never faltered, in the purpose of counteracting the arbitrary plans of the English cabinet, and which gradually engaged him to strive for the independence of the country. Every part of his 5 character conduced to this determination. His private habits, which were simple, frugal, and unostentatious, led him to despise the luxury and parade affected by the crown officers; his religious tenets, which made him loathe the very name ot the English church, preserved in his mind
10 the memory of ancient persecutions, as vividly as if they had happened yesterday, and as anxiously, as if they might be repeated to-morrow; his detestation of royalty and privileged classes, which no man could have felt more deeply — all these circumstances stimulated him to perseverance
15 in a course which he conscientiously believed it to be his duty to pursue for the welfare of his country.
He combined, in a remarkable manner, all the animosities and all the firmness, that could qualify a man to be the asserter of the rights of the people. Had he lived in
20 any country or any epoch, 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 the tribute to St. Peter; he would have gone to the stake, rather than submit to the
25 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
30 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.
The motives by which he was actuated were not a sud
35 den ebullition of temper, or a transient impulse of resentment, but they were deliberate, methodical, and unyielding. There was no pause, no hesitation, no despondency; every day and every hour were employed in some contribution towards the main design, if not in action, in writing; if not with the pen, in conversation; if not in talking, in 5 meditation. The means he advised were persuasion, petition, remonstrance, resolutions, and when all failed, defiance and extermination sooner than submission. His measures fol redress were all legitimate; and where the extremity of the case, as in the destruction of the tea, absolutely re- 10 quired an irregularity, a vigor beyond the law, he was desirous that it might be redeemed by the discipline, good order, and scrupulous integrity with which it should be effected.
With this unrelenting and austere spirit, there was noth
15 ing ferocious, gloomy or arrogant in his demeanor. His aspect was mild, dignified, and gentlemanly. In his own state, or in the Congress of the Union, he was always the advocate of the strongest measures; and in the darkest hour he never wavered or desponded. He engaged in the
20 cause with all the zeal of a reformer, the confidence of an enthusiast, and the cheerfulness of a voluntary martyr. It was not by brilliancy of talents, or profoundness of learning, that he rendered such essential service to the cause of the revolution, but by his resolute decision, his
25 unceasing watchfulness, and his heroic perseverance. In addition to these qualities, his efforts were consecrated by his entire superiority to pecuniary considerations; he, like most of his colleagues, proved the nobleness of their cause, by the virtue of their conduct; and Samuel Adams, after
30 being so many years in the public service, and having filled so many eminent stations, must have been buried at the public expense, if the afflicting death of an only son had not remedied this honorable poverty.