Epilogue: Securing the Republic
CHAPTER 18|Document 14
Samuel Adams to John Scollay30 Dec. 1780Writings 4:236--38
Our Government, I perceive, is organizd on the Basis of the new Constitution. I am affraid there is more Pomp & Parade than is consistent with those sober Republican Principles, upon which the Framers of it thought they had founded it. Why should this new Oera be introducd with Entertainments expensive & tending to dissipate the Minds of the People? Does it become us to lead the People to such publick Diversions as promote Superfluity of Dress & Ornament, when it is as much as they can bear to support the Expense of cloathing a naked Army? Will Vanity & Levity ever be the Stability of Government, either in States, in Cities, or what, let me hint to you is of the last Importance, in Families? Of what Kind are those Manners, by which, as we are truly informd in a late Speech, "not only the freedom but the very Existence of Republicks is greatly affected?" How fruitless is it, to recommend "the adapting the Laws in the most perfect Manner possible, to the Suppression of Idleness Dissipation & Extravagancy," if such Recommendations are counteracted by the Example of Men of Religion, Influence & publick Station? I meant to consider this Subject in the View of the mere Citizen.
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Our Bradfords, Winslows & Winthrops would have revolted at the Idea of opening Scenes of Dissipation & Folly; knowing them to be inconsistent with their great Design, in transplanting themselves into what they called this "Outside of the World." But I fear I shall say too much. I love the People of Boston. I once thought, that City would be the Christian Sparta. But Alas! Will men never be free! They will be free no longer than while they remain virtuous. Sidney tells us, there are times when People are not worth saving. Meaning, when they have lost their Virtue. I pray God, this may never be truly said of my beloved Town.
The Writings of Samuel Adams. Edited by Harry Alonzo Cushing. 4 vols. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904--8.
© 1987 by The University of Chicago