iS I__~~~RESJDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~came
on. Congress had to do something
immediately. The first thing was to
choose a commander-in-chief for the-we
can't say " army "-the fighting men of the
colonies. The New England delegation
was almost unanimous in favor of appointing
General Ward, then at the head of the
Massachusetts forces, but Mr. Adams urged
the appointment of George Washington,
then almost unknown outside of his own
State. He was appointed without opposition.
Mr. Adams offered the resolution,
which was adopted, annulling all the royal
authority in the colonies. Having thus
prepared the way, a few weeks later, viz.,
June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia,
who a few months before had declared
that the British Government would abandon
its oppressive measures, now offered
the memorable resolution, seconded by
Adams, "that these United States are, and
of right ought to be, free and independent."
Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Sherman and
Livingston were then appointed a committee
to draught a declaration of independence.
Mr. Jefferson desired Mr. Adams
to draw up the bold document, but the
latter persuaded Mr. Jefferson to perform
that responsible task. The Declaration
drawn up, Mr. Adams became its foremost
defender on the floor of Congress. It was
signed by all the fifty-five members present,
and the next day Mr. Adams wrote to his
wife how great a deed was done, and how
proud he was of it. Mr. Adams continued
to be the leading man of Congress, and
the leading advocate of American independence.
Above all other Americans,
he was considered by every one the principal
shining mark for British vengeance.
Thus circumstanced, he was appointed to
the most dangerous task of crossing the
ocean in winter, exposed to capture by the
British, who knew of his mission, which
was to visit Paris and solicit the co-operation
of the French, Besides, to take himself
away from the country of which he
was the most prominent defender, at that
critical time, was an act of the greatest selfsacrifice.
Sure enough, while crossing the
sea, he had two very narrow escapes from
capture; and the transit was otherwise a
stormy and eventful one. During th(summer
of 1779 he returned home, but was
immediately dispatched back to France, to
be in readiness there to negotiate terms of
peace and commerce with Great Britain as
soon as the latter power was ready for such
business. But as Dr. Franklin was more
popular than heat the court of France, Mr.
Adams repaired to Holland, where he was
far more successful as a diplomatist.
The treaty of peace between the United
States and England was finally signed at
Paris, January 21, 1783; and the '-action
from so great excitement as Mr. Adamis had
so long been experiencing threw him into
a dangerous fever. Before he fully recovered
he was in London, whence he was
dispatched again to Amsterdam to negotiate
another loan. Compliance with this
order undermined his physical constitution
In 1785 Mr. Adams was appointed envoy
to the court of St. James, to meet face to
face the very king who had regarded him.
as an arch traitor! Accordingly he repaired
thither, where he did actually meet
and converse with George III.! After a
residence there for about three years, he
obtained permission to return to America.
While in London he wrote, and published
an able work, in three volumes, entitled:
" A Defense of the American Constitution."
The Articles of Confederation proving
inefficient, as Adams had prophesied, a
carefully draughted Constitution was
adopted in I789, when George Washington
was elected President of the new nation,
and Adams Vice-President. Congress met
for a time in New York, but was removed
to Philadelphia for ten years, until suitable
Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.. Chicago, Illinois. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/. Accessed May 1, 2016.