The Writings of Samuel Adams - Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 396 pages of information about The Writings of Samuel Adams.
they looked no further.  They did not imagine, that he who had been the instrument of recovering the independence of their country, could be the very man who was to effect the ruin of their liberties.  By the Constitution of Sweden their kings were elective, and the powers of the crown were exceedingly limited.  The unsuspecting people even voluntarily gave up their right of election, and suffered Gustavus to enlarge the powers of the crown, and entail it in his own family!  This is the account which the history of Sweden has given us; and it affords an instance among a thousand others, of the folly and danger of trusting even good men with power, without regarding the use they make of it.  Power is in its nature incroaching; and such is the human make, that men who are vested with a share of it, are generally inclined to take more than it was intended they should have.  The love of power, like the love of money, increases with the possession of it; and we know, in what ruin these baneful passions have involved human societies in all ages, when they have been let loose and suffered to rage uncontrouled—­ There is no restraint like the pervading eye of the virtuous citizens.—­I hope therefore our countrymen will constantly exercise that right which the meanest of them is intitled to, and which is particularly secured to them by our happy constitution, of inquiring freely, but decently, into the conduct of the public servants.  The very being of the Commonwealth may depend upon it.  I will venture to appeal to the experience of ancient Republicks, to evince the necessity of it; and it is never more necessary than in the infancy of a Commonwealth, and when the people have chosen honest men to conduct their affairs.  For, whatever is done at a time nearly contemporary with the constitution, will be construed as the best exposition of it; and a mistaken principle of a virtuous ruler, whose public conduct is generally good, and always supposed to be honestly intended, carries with it an authority scarcely to be resisted, and precedents are thus formed which may prove dangerous—­perhaps fatal.”—­

1 Endorsed by Adams:  “The foregoing was sent to Mr Edes by the Post Mar 27, 81.”


[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

Philade Apr 23 1781


I did not receive your favor of the 3d Instt till yesterday; a week later than Letters of the same Date from some others of my Boston friends were brought to me by the Post.  As the Subject is delicate, I do not chuse to continue it in this Letter, which is to go thro a Channel provd from repeated Experience to be uncertain & unsafe.  It was for this Reason that I committed to the Care of a private friend, my Letter to Mrs A of the 1st of Feby which she communicated to you.  I am glad she did it in a Manner so acceptable.  Indeed I never found Reason to doubt her Discretion.  What you have written is very obliging & satisfactory to me.  I hope to have the Pleasure of seeing you next Month.  We will then, after our usual Manner, disclose each others Hearts.

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The Writings of Samuel Adams - Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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