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colony at Salem, instead of Boston. An effort was made to put John Adams on the council of the governor, but Gage, hearing of it, negatived it at once. The legislature met in Salem, June 7, 1774. Its members began at once the most active secret measures to defeat the plans of the governor. On the seventeenth of June, a motion was made that the doorkeeper keep the door closed against all passage in or out. One hundred and twenty-nine members were present. At once a resolution was offered in approval of the meeting in Philadelphia on the first of September, of the committees from the several colonies of America-the Colonial Congress, in fact,-according to the suggestion of James Otis nine years before, in relation to the Stamp act. The object of the meeting as stated in the resolution was: "To consult upon wise and proper measures to be recommended to all the colonies for the recovery and establishment of their just rights and liberties, civil and religious, and the restoration of union and harmony between the two countries, most ardently desired by all good men." This bold resolution, with others, was taken up at once. It was a surprise to most of the members. It was a move toward union, and dictation to England. They were consulting in defiance of their governor. There were spies in the assembly. One of them evaded the vigilance of the doorkeeper and carried intelligence to the governor. The governor immediately sent a messenger to prorogue the legislature. But the doorkeeper's orders were absolute and he would not admit him, but sent in word of his mission. The legislature took no notice of it. A few idlers and members had gathered on the steps outside, and to them the messenger read the governor's proroguing message; but the work inside went on. The resolutions were discussed and passed— one hundred and seventeen for, and twelve against them. James Bowdoin, Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams and Robert Treat Payne, were appointed to serve Massachusetts in the congress. When this great initiatory step was taken, the legislature dissolved according to the governor's order, never more to meet under royal authority.
THE COLONIAL CONGRESS.
The Colonial Congress was called to meet September 1, 1774. It was for consultation. It had no authority; it was simply a meeting of delegated citizens to talk over their grievances; to get acquainted with each other and the condition of the colonies, and try to act together in their endeavors to bring England to a better mind toward them. Massachusetts had asked for this meeting to get the other colonies to make common cause with her, to sympathize with, and share her oppression.
The first things considered were non-importation, non-consumption and non-exportation acts. It would hurt England to refuse to buy her goods, to cease to consume anything she made, to cease to sell her anything the colonies produced.
But their consultation produced quite other results than their acts! It stimulated their courage. It led them to speak out their feelings. "What is a king's promise?" asked young Rutledge, of South Carolina, in a defiant tone. "A constitutional death to Lords Bute, Mansfield and North!" cried Harrison. And so by brave words which the world did not then hear, as their consultations were secret, they opened their hearts to each other. On the seventeenth of September Adams wrote in his diary: "This day has convinced me that America will support Massachusetts, or perish with her." Yet the delegates were far from being agreed on anything. Many of them were fearful of offending the king and his governors. They generally loved and honored England. With patience, forbearance and wisdom they talked over their differences of opinion, and yet gave out to the world that unity and harmony prevailed among them. The unity was in their mutual desire to allay the lion's anger, and their wise readiness to stand by each other in their efforts to do it.
The Congress continued two months. It prepared with great care a petition to the king, and the acts of non-intercourse as threats and proofs of their resolution; but the greatest benefit of the Congress was the acquaintance of the leading men of the
colonies with each other, and the preparation for the final union made by this acquaintance.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH HIS WIFE.
This journey to Philadelphia was Mr. Adams' first visit out of New England.. It was full of interest to him in many respects. During this journey began that correspondence with his wife on political matters, which has been of great interest to the world since their day. Mrs. Abigail Adams was a woman of rare mind who entered into all the great interests of the colonies with judgment and enthusiasm. He wrote to her of the questions discussed in Congress, and she to him of the stirring events going on in Boston and the colony.
The correspondence on state matters thus begun, was kept up through all their separation. After his public life began they were much separated, and the history of that life was largely written in his letters to her.
HIS ELECTION TO THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS.
He had been at home but a few days, before he was called to Watertown to give his counsel in the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, then in session. A few days later he was elected by Braintree, a member of that Congress, and continued so till the end of its career. He was thus in the heart of the activities of the time in Massachusetts. At this time some leading tory in Massachusetts, who called himself "Massachusettensis," wrote a series of able articles in a Boston newspaper, on the British view of the situation and in defense of the course of King George.
Mr. Adams wrote a series of articles for the Boston Gazette in reply, over the name of "Novanglus." Both series were widely read and studied in the colonies. The articles of Mr. Adams were afterward published under the title of "A History of the Dispute with America." They now appear permanently as a part of the history of the times in his works. His grandson and biographer, Charles Francis Adams, says of them: "No publication of the times compares with them in extent of
research into the principles of the ancient law, and in the vigorous application of them to the question at issue."
By the Massachusetts congress Mr. Adams was appointed to
THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.
The winter of 1774 and 1775 was a fearful one to the people of Massachusetts. In April, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought, which brought almost all the male population of the colony under arms to defend their homes against the soldiers of their king. Fearful was the agitation over the whole country. In the midst of this agitation Mr. Adams set out for the second Continental Congress at Philadelphia. The delegates were everywhere hailed with delight. Their journey was made an ovation. In New York, almost the whole city came out. The whole of the militia were in arms. This day's ovation settled it that New York would go into the confederation of the colonies. They hastened on. The Congress met in a very different mood from that in which it parted the fall before. Lexington and Concord had united them. The spirit of the men of Massachusetts was now in the people of all the colonies.
Early in June Mr. Adams moved that Congress adopt the army around Boston as its own, and proceed to officer and supply it, and, in making the motion, said that though it was not time to name a commander yet, "I have no hesitation to declare that I have one gentleman in my mind for that important command, and that is a gentleman from Virginia, who is among us and very well known to us all; a gentleman whose skill and experience as an officer; whose independent fortune, great talents and excellent universal character will command the approbation of all America and unite the cordial exertions of all the colonies better than any other person in the Union."
On the fifteenth of June the army was adopted. Immedi ately after George Washington, whom Mr. Adams a few days before had pointed out as the proper man, was elected commander-in-chief. Two days after, June 17, perhaps at the very time the battle of Bunker Hill was being fought, he wrote to a friend: "This appointment will have a great effect in cement
ing and securing the union of these colonies; the liberties of America depend upon him, in a great degree."
The work of this Congress was great, and it was greatly done. It had to provide an army and a government, unite and consolidate the people-in a word, it had to create an empire, and it did it. It had every difficulty in the way, but by a marvelous wisdom it got over and around them all.
While Mr. Adams was at this work he was receiving letters from his wife in Braintree, with her four little children exposed to the horrors of war, her home but a little way from the sea, in a region swept over and over again by the marauding British soldiers, and visited often by our own soldiers in their needs. Under anxiety for his family, and for the whole country, he and his coadjutors from Massachusetts had to perform their great duties. These were indeed "the times that tried men's souls."
After the battle of Bunker Hill, Mr. Adams saw clearly that all talk of reconciliation was vain, and he shaped his course accordingly; he did all he could to strengthen, officer and support the army, and he began to forecast a constitution, laws, a system of finance, a naval defense and whatever must enter into a nation's necessities. While he did not break with the timid and halting, like John Dickinson, he yet planned in his mind for what actually came.
About this time two of his private letters-one to his wife and one to General James Warren-were intercepted by the British and published in Boston. They were so radical and vigorous for independence, and spoke with such disrespect of all conciliation, that he became a marked man in the king's hatred. Parliament talked much of arresting him, and the king's friends in America made their dislike of him conspicuous. Many of the timid friends of the colonies shunned him. It is said that John Dickinson became his enemy for the rest of his life, and that even John Hancock drew away from him and became cautious of intercourse with him. This made it necessary for him to use every argument, public and private, to make his views known and understood by the people. In Congress and out, he grew more and more influential, and he reiterated more and