An Address Delivered Before the Members of the Schools, and the Citizens of Quincy

An Address Delivered Before the Members of the Schools, and the Citizens of Quincy

July 4, 1856 (Classic Reprint)

by Charles Francis Adams, Jr.

Hardback Publication Date: 28/04/2018

Excerpt from An Address Delivered Before the Members of the Schools, and the Citizens of Quincy: July 4, 1856 It ought however to be observed in this connec tion that the British ministers were not altogether to blame for the impressions they had formed of the char acter of our people. They could receive them only from those persons with whom they were brought most directly in contact. These were the applicants for office, the petitioners for favors, the suppliants for grace. Now if any man is going to make up a judg ment of the character of a nation from that of the courtiers who stand around a throne, or of the place hunters who infest the ante-rooms of ministers, or of the demagogues who fawn upon the people for their sweet voices, he will be very likely to think of it pretty much as the British ministry thought of the colonists - that they were servile in Spirit, and not trustworthy anywhere. Such men are all of the same' genus - and only vary in the Species with the cir cumstances under which they unfold their nature.

Neither was it only from their experience of the class with which they had directly to deal, that they formed such an Opinion. They could not fail to be more or less affected by the representations obtained through these sources, of the motives and acts of the Colonists generally. The effect was thoroughly to poison the sources of their information. The office holders wrote what they thought would be agreeable and ingratiate themselves, rather than what was true. They ridi ouled the Opposition to the obnoxious measures, and instigated to the perseverance in them at all hazards. Whenever a popular outbreak happened, ministers were told that it was the work of a few factions dis organizers, that it was only momentary, and would soon die away. When things looked more serious, they were urged to persist, and to send out a few regiments and some Ships of war, who would frighten nobody but a few old women, and yet would secure obedience. They were stimulated at last to adopt the motto, we will subdue you, which ended in the catastrophe at Lexington and Bunker's hill. May God ever protect a hapless people from the influence of such desperate advisers! In this cause no man proved more energetic and more officious than Thomas Hutchinson, a native of Massachusetts, once the idol of her population, but who had bartered their affections and his own principles for the possession of the highest places in the province. He served like a perpetual blister on the body politic, at once to inflame and to torment it. Such men play a part more or less prominent in every age. From traitors to Liberty, whether made so by the mere love of pelf, or the more lofty but not less selfishaspira tions for power, Good Lord, in all seasons, deliver us.

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