Sam leaned in close toward the center of the table, in order to be heard over the rowdy group nearby. In spite of the noise, the Green Dragon Tavern was a perfect place for Sam and his comrades to meet. No one paid much attention to them or their topic of conversation: resisting British tyranny.
“What we need,” Sam announced firmly but quietly, “are committees of correspondence in every town of Massachusetts, ready to pass on communication quickly from one to another, keep each other informed, and coordinate our efforts—in spite of the Brits’ nosy presence.”
Others at the table nodded in agreement. Almost all Bostonians longed for the removal of British soldiers, encamped in their harbor town since 1768. The men at table with Sam weren’t surprised by his idea for subterfuge. For eight years he had been writing newspaper articles in criticism of Britain’s oppressive policies and harsh taxation of the colonists.
Now it was 1772. Samuel Adams and many others felt the colonies had endured enough. It was time for action. He began to organize Committees of Correspondence in Massachusetts, and soon more than 300 developed throughout the colonies.
Sam also helped organize protests and boycotts. The most famous was the Boston Tea Party of 1773. He led fifty-some patriots to dump tea into the harbor, thus avoiding the high import duties, and sending Britain a clear message.
In 1774, Samuel Adams represented Massachusetts in the First Continental Congress. Their objective: to determine how best to deal with their grievances against Britain. The delegates readily agreed their first course of action should be prayer, but a disagreement ensued. Which clergyman from which denomination should be invited?
Samuel Adams told the congress he was “no bigot and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue, who was at the same time a friend of his country (1).” He nominated an Episcopalian clergyman, Mr. Duche. Sam did not know him, but the minister had been highly recommended. The motion passed.
From communicator to leader to unifier, Samuel Adams distinguished himself as a worthy patriot for the history books. But his character out shown his considerable abilities.
Sam’s distinguishing traits included:
- Courage. He continually spoke out against the British crown. At least once, Sam narrowly escaped capture. In 1776, Adams (and fifty-five others) signed the Declaration of Independence. They knew it could likely be their death warrants. For some, it was.
- “Incorruptible Integrity” (as described by one biographer (2). For the eight years Sam served in the Continental Congress, he was known for his stamina, realism, and commitment, working tirelessly on numerous committees.
- Wisdom. Adams knew that devotion to God would strengthen the new nation (Proverbs 14:34). “Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe,” Sam wrote in 1776. “He rewards or punishes them according to their general character (3).”
Samuel Adams was indeed a man of strong Christian faith, evidenced frequently in his writings:
“The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better (4).
Following the signing of the Declaration, Sam said, “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come (5).
In his last will and testament Sam wrote: “I…[rely] on the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins (6).”
He was also a visionary, speaking wisdom for the generations to come. His statements ring true today, especially as we approach our presidential election:
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that…he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country” (7).
“He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard of his country…The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men” (8).
“Those who are to have a share in making as well as in judging and executing the laws should be men of singular wisdom and integrity” (9).
Samuel Adams: Born 294 years ago tomorrow, on September 27, 1722–a man who lived what he believed.
Lord, help me to do the same. And may I remember:
The privilege to vote is a solemn trust for which I am accountable to God.
- http://www.renewamerica.com, “Continental Congress: America Founded on Prayer,” Brian Fischer, May 2, 2007.
- http://www.belcherfoundation, “Samuel Adams.”
- From a letter to John Scollay, April 30, 1776.
- Founders’ Bible, ed. Brad Cummings & Lance Wubbels, p. 1732.
- From an article in the Boston Gazette, April 2, 1781.
- From The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed. Harry A. Cushing, 1907.
- From the Boston Gazette article, April 2, 1781.
- Founders’ Bible, Shiloh Road Publishers