Adams’ home life was simple to the verge of hardship. All through life he was on the ragged edge financially, and in his latter years he was for the first time relieved from pressing obligations by an afflicting event—the death of his only son, who was a surgeon in Washington’s army. The money paid to the son by the Government for his services gave the father the only financial competency he ever knew. Two daughters survived him, but with him died the name.
John Adams survived Samuel for twenty-three years. He lived to see “the great American experiment,” as Mr. Ruskin has been pleased to call our country, on a firm basis, constantly growing stronger and stronger. He lived to realize that the sanguine prophecies made by Samuel were working themselves out in very truth.
The grave of Samuel Adams is viewed by more people than that of any other American patriot. In the old Granary Burying-Ground, in the very center of Boston, on Tremont Street—there where travel congests, and two living streams meet all day long—–you look through the iron fence, so slender that it scarce impedes the view, and not twenty feet from the curb is a simple metal disk set on an iron rod driven into the ground and on it this inscription: “This marks the grave of Samuel Adams.”
For many years the grave was unmarked, and the disk that now denotes it was only recently placed in position by the Sons of the American Revolution. But the place of Samuel Adams on the pages of history is secure. Upon the times in which he lived he exercised a profound influence. And he who influences the times in which he lives has influenced all the times that come after; he has left his impress on eternity.
Boston, Sept. 30, 1765
Since my last I have receiv’d your favour by Capt Hulme who is arriv’d here with the most disagreeable Commodity (say Stamps) that were imported into this Country & what if carry’d into Execution will entirely Stagnate Trade here, for it is universally determined here never to Submitt to it and the principal merchts here will by no means carry on Business under a Stamp, we are in the utmost Confusion here and shall be more so after the first of November & nothing but the repeal of the act will righten, the Consequence of its taking place here will be bad, & attended with many troubles, & I believe may say more fatal to you than us. I dread the Event. —Extract From Hancock’s Letter-Book
[Illustration: John Hancock]
Long years ago when society was young, learning was centered in one man in each community, and that man was the priest. It was the priest who was sent for in every emergency of life. He taught the young, prescribed for the sick, advised those who were in trouble, and when human help was vain and man had done his all, this priest knelt at the bedside of the dying and invoked a Power with whom it was believed he had influence.