Update to Saturday 10-27 Radio Program
Boston – Thursday:
“In Boston the excitement was intense, and the whole city was quickly in a blaze of resentment. At the first opportunity the determined hostility to the act broke forth. What would normally be an occasion of celebration, political figures are found hanging in effigy from city center trees and from the top of which peeped forth a head with horns, intended to personify the Devil. The authorities did not attempt to remove the effigies, for, in the excited state of the popular mind, it was difficult to say how far the rage of the people, might lead them.
The Organizers, with whom the proceedings, originated, kept the matter somewhat in hand, and at evening cut the figures down and carried them in procession through the city, processioned on a bier. The multitude moved in perfect order, and their route was lined with people. They passed through the historic Old State house and under the council-chamber, where the key city politicians happened to be gathered. “Liberty, property, and new taxes”! were shouted at the ears of the listening dignitaries. The Organizers were preceded by some four or five thousand business and tradesmen, decently dressed and the whole body marched to State Street, where they demolished a structure which they believed the federal government was building as an office for the new tyranny being pushed by despotic leadership. Then they proceeded to Fort Hill (Roxbury), where key government officials reside, and with fragments of the frame which they brought with them, built a bonfire in which the effigies were consumed.
Old Boston had rarely witnessed such a commotion. But the popular wrath did not end here. At nightfall, remembering the agency of a certain Senator in subverting their liberties, a mob collected again at a late hour, burnt the records of the office, and ravaged the houses of the Comptroller of the Customs, and of Senator, whose plate, books, and valuable collection of manuscripts they threw into the street, barely giving the owner time to escape, and utterly destroying the interior of perhaps the finest private residence in the area.
These outbreaks of lawless violence, though manifesting the spirit of opposition to the late acts of the governing political parties, were viewed with horror by most of the popular leaders, and by none more so than Mr. Samuel Adams.”
Nothin’ New Under The Sun:
Continuing From Life and Public Service Vol. I regarding the Stamp Act of 1765:
“The Period of peaceful remonstrance had not yet terminated with him. It was the policy of the Colonies to avow their sincere loyalty to Great Britain, which they reiterated in every state paper ; and acts of insubordination were only calculated to mar the harmony of these plans. Petitions and dutiful representations were to be the basis of operations for ten years to come, though a few looked beyond these measures to an eventual appeal to Heaven. In the present instance, Adams agreed with his friend Mayhew that he would rather lose his hand than encourage such outrages, and he personally aided the civil power in preventing them. He saw no impropriety however in the earlier portion of the proceedings of August 14th, when the tradesmen marched in procession and hung the stamp distributor in effigy; believing that when loyal petitions were unavailing, such an orderly and unanimous demonstration was the only legal method to advise the authorities of the popular feeling.
Town Meeting to Condemn Riot
A town meeting was summoned early on the following day, at which the last night’s proceedings were condemned, and a series of resolutions adopted desiring the Selectmen to suppress the like riots for the future, and pledging the aid of the people to preserve order. Writing to Richard Jackson, the Colonial agent, a few months later, as one of a committee of the Assembly, Adams referred to this riot particularly, apprehending its evil effects against the efforts which were making in behalf of the Province : “As the Stamp Act had given the greatest uneasiness even to the most judicious men of the Colony,” it was not, he thought, “to be wondered at, that among the common people such steps should be taken as could not be justified, it being frequent in populous towns when grievances are felt. This had been the case in Boston, where the people had shown their resentment in such ways as were not uncommon elsewhere.” These proceedings he denounced as ” high-handed outrages,” “of which the in-habitants immediately, at a meeting called for the purpose within a few hours after the perpetration of the act, publicly declared their detestation. All was done the day following that could be expected from an orderly town, by whose influence a spirit was raised to oppose and suppress it. It is possible these matters may be represented to our disadvantage, and therefore we desire you will take all possible opportunities to set them in a proper light.”
The sense of frustration that affects the ideals of true liberty often rise to emotionalism that ends in destructive measures. The most important perspective is that which Sam Adams takes and is reinforced by the Patriot Pastors of the period.
Very much like in our very present time, No acts of violence are acceptable as a means to a political end. History has shown that only tyrants and despots emerge from these occasions. What is most often forgotten in this day and age is that the majority of our Founding Fathers had a common ideology that was fully established in Reformation principles. I know, there are many today that argue against this but let me take you down a quick view of truth over emotionalism.
There are many of Samuel Adams contemporaries that were Clergy in the Northern Colonies that Sam actually went to Harvard with and had the same baseline education as him. Yet one of the most profound Clergy of the era was John Witherspoon. (As a side note, I can reference many reasons that Dr. Witherspoon should be commended and read for all that he did as an ‘Influencer of Political Leaders’, as a ‘Signer of The Declaration of Independence’ and as well as many other notable actions of early American history proving Divine Providence as removed from emotionalism.) You can look up his biography as to how he was imprisoned in Scotland for his participation in the events of the Highlander uprising in 1745–46. Yet his complete persona and writings are based on that common underlying principal of Liberty established during the Reformation and to which Sam Adams and others held in kind. As noted in the quotes above, Sam Adams and Johnathan Meyhew were not only contemporaries, but Adams graduated from Harvard four years before Meyhew so that it can be validated that their ideas on religion and governance were mostly interwoven.
Fundamental Principles by John Witherspoon
What I want to drive home with this is that from the most fundamental view of the events leading to the American Revolution and the establishment of the Constitution, remember that James Madison was a student of Witherspoon, is that these men: Adams, Meyhew, Witherspoon and their associates; for the most part clearly understood that those in governing positions should have the Living God of the whole Scriptures as their guiding wisdom. Witherspoon’s Sermon in 1776 laid out the proper elements in the approach to the events of the day. It was titled “Dominion of Providence Over The Passions of Men”.
What we are not hearing or seeing in all the narratives rupturing the ears of the Citizenry across all of these United States is that ‘God is Sovereign’ and politicians and bureaucrats are beholden to Him. As evidence to this, Witherspoon opens his sermon with:
Dominion of Providence
The doctrine of divine providence is very full and complete in the sacred oracles. It extends not only to things which we may think of great moment, and therefore worthy of notice, but to things the most indifferent and inconsiderable; “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing,” says our Lord, “and one of them falleth not to the ground without your heavenly Father”; nay, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.[”] It extends not only to things beneficial and salutary, or to the direction and assistance of those who are the servants of the living God; but to things seemingly most hurtful and destructive, and to persons the most refractory and disobedient. He overrules all his creatures, and all their actions. Thus we are told, that “fire, hail, snow, vapour, and stormy wind, fulfil his word,” in the course of nature; and even so the most impetuous and disorderly passions of men, that are under no restraint from themselves, are yet perfectly subject to the dominion of Jehovah. They carry his commission, they obey his orders, they are limited and restrained by his authority, and they conspire with every thing else in promoting his glory. There is the greater need to take notice of this, that men are not generally sufficiently aware of the distinction between the law of God and his purpose; they are apt to suppose, that as the temper of the sinner is contrary to the one, so the outrages of the sinner are able to defeat the other; than which nothing can be more false. The truth is plainly asserted, and nobly expressed by the psalmist in the text, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”
If we look only at the life of Sam Adams we could see the violence and riots that occurred from his youth and exacerbated in 1746 with the shanghaiing of towns people by the British Navy through to the Stamp Act and beyond to the present day. What is critical for all to reflect on is what Witherspoon closes with:
I could wish to have every good thing done from the purest principles and the noblest views. Consider, therefore, that the Christian character, particularly the self-denial of the gospel, should extend to your whole deportment. In the early times of Christianity, when adult converts were admitted to baptism, they were asked among other questions, Do you renounce the world, its shews, its pomp, and its vanities? I do. The form of this is still preserved in the administration of baptism, where we renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh. This certainly implies not only abstaining from acts of gross intemperance and excess, but a humility of carriage, a restraint and moderation in all your desires. The same thing, as it is suitable to your Christian profession, is also necessary to make you truly independent in yourselves, and to feed the source of liberality and charity to others, or to the public. The riotous and wasteful liver, whose craving appetites make him constantly needy, is and must be subject to many masters, according to the saying of Solomon, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” But the frugal and moderate person, who guides his affairs with discretion, is able to assist in public counsels by a free and unbiassed judgment, to supply the wants of his poor brethren, and sometimes, by his estate and substance to give important aid to a sinking country.
Upon the whole, I beseech you to make a wise improvement of the present threatening aspect of public affairs, and to remember that your duty to God, to your country, to your families, and to yourselves, is the same. True religion is nothing else but an inward temper and outward conduct suited to your state and circumstances in providence at any time. And as peace with God and conformity to him, adds to the sweetness of created comforts while we possess them, so in times of difficulty and trial, it is in the man of piety and inward principle, that we may expect to find the uncorrupted patriot, the useful citizen, and the invincible soldier. God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable, and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both.