44 PRSDNSQTE NTDSATS
in a clear, shrill tone, tremulous with suppressed
"In reply to this audacious, atrocious
charge of high treason, I call for the reading
of the first paragraph of the Declaration
of Independence. Read it! Read it! and
see what that says of the rights of a people
to reform, to change, and to dissolve their
The attitude, the manner, the tone, the
words; the venerable old man, with flashing
eye and flushed cheek,, and whose very
form seemed to expand under the inspiration
of the occasion-all presented a scene overflowing
in its sublimity. There was breathless
silence as that paragraph was read, in
defense of whose principles our fathers had
pledged their lives, their fortunes and their
sacred honor. It was a proud hour to Mr.
Adams as they were all compelled to listen
to the words:
"That, to secure these rights, governments
are instituted among men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the
governed; and that whenever any form of
government becomes destructive of those
ends, it is the right of the people to alter or
abolish it, and to institute new government,
laying its foundations on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form
as shall seem most likely to effect their
safety and happiness."
That one sentence routed and baffled the
foe. The heroic old man looked around
upon the audience, and thundered out,
"Read that again!" It was again read.
Then in a few fiery, logical words he stated
his defense in terms which even prejudiced
minds could not resist. His discomfited
assailants made several attempts to rally.
After a conflict of eleven days they gave
up vanquished and their resolution was ignominiously
laid upon the table.
In January, I846, when seventy-eight
years of age, he took part in the great debate
on the Oregon question, displaying
intellectual vigor, and an extent and accuracy
of acquaintance with the subject that
excited great admiration.
On the 2ISt of February, I848, he rose on
the floor of Congress with a paper in his
hand to address the Speaker. Suddenly
he fell, stricken by paralysis, and was caught
in the arms of those around him. For a
time he was senseless and was conveyed
to a sofa in the rotunda. With reviving
consciousness he opened his eyes, looked
calmly around and said, " This is the end of
earth." Then after a moment's pause, he
added, "I am content." These were his last
words, and he soon breathed his last, -in the
apartment beneath the dome of the capitol
-the theater of his labors and his triumphs.
In the language of hymnology, he" died at
his post;" he " ceased at once to work and
Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and biographical history of Dallas County, Texas ... : containing a history of this important section of the great state of Texas, from the earliest period of its occupancy to the present time ... and biographical mention of many of its pioneers, and also of prominent citizens of to-day. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/. Accessed March 10, 2014.