Brighten their holiday. Enrich their everyday.Give The Atlantic

John Adams And The "Gitmo Nine"

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

Whenever I read about Cheney and her ilk's galling demands that the government abdicate due process of law because they're more frightened of people in caves than our forebears were of the Soviet Union or Axis powers, I always think of John Adams and the Boston Massacre. I can only imagine what would be said today of someone who defended alleged terrorists if they were to run for high office. Adams' infamy over defending, and winning, a case for the hated British was eventually seen for what it was: a defense of liberty.

I couldn't find a clip of the courtroom scene from John Adams, the HBO miniseries, but the speech above hits all the right chords. And below is a diary entry of Adams recounting his feelings about defending the eight British soldiers - murder suspects that no other lawyer in Boston would represent. It's a must read for anyone interested in learning from a true Tea Party patriot:

Before or after the Tryal, Preston sent me ten Guineas and at the Tryal of the Soldiers afterwards Eight Guineas more, which were. . .all the pecuniary Reward I ever had for fourteen or fifteen days labour, in the most exhausting and fatiguing Causes I ever tried: for hazarding a Popularity very general and very hardly earned: and for incurring a Clamour and popular Suspicions and prejudices, which are not yet worn out and never will be forgotten as long as History of this Period is read...It was immediately bruited abroad that I had engaged for Preston and the Soldiers, and occasioned a great clamour....

The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.

This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies.