Young John Adams: Thirteen Clocks Strike for Independence

In Yankee from Olympus CATHERINE DRINKER BOWEN showed us the decisiveness of that Great Dissenter. Justice Oliver Wendell Ho1mes. For the past five years she has been working on a comparable portrait of Young John Adams, who was brought up to believe in British rights and British freedom and who in his thirties, from 1765 to 1775’ Worked to effect a new freedom on this side of the Atlantic. Those ten years were the most important, the most dynamic, of John Adams’s life. From the final section of Miss Bowen’s book. the Atlantic has made a five-part abridgment, depicting the action and deliberation which led to independence.


As WAR spread down the coast and the threat grew total, it became apparent even to the Tories that the character of Congress had changed. From a temporary convention which, on adjournment, voted to meet again in six months “should the situation demand,” Congress had become a permanent body of state representatives, with self-appointed powers to coin money, make loans, raise and equip an army and a navy. In April of '76, Congress lifted the Continental blockade, which quite obviously had failed of its purpose. American ships flung themselves blithely across the seas, trading where they could, fishing where they could and fighting when a likely prize loomed toward them over the horizon.

Congress, to the world outside, appeared a united body. Because the vote was counted by colonies, no1 delegates, there was little public conception of how sharp a difference actually existed between the members. To Dickinson, Robert Morris, James Wilson of Philadelphia, to Duane and Jay of New York, to the brothers Rutledge of South Carolina, independence was still a word of frightful mien, separation from England a thought deplorable — more and more threatening it was true, but to be avoided it the brain and ingenuity of man could possibly avoid it.

On the 7th of June, a Friday, Richard Henry Lee stood up in Congress and asked leave to propose a resolution, “according to the instructions of his constituents.” Fifty pairs of eyes were instantly fixed on him; not a delegate but knew perfectly what was coming. Three weeks ago the Virginia Assembly had voted that its delegates in Congress be instructed “to declare for independence.” Congress had had the news ten da vs or more: tidily, the moderates had looked for the Virginians to act upon it. The tension had become almost unbearable.

Quite obviously, the moment had this morning arrived; Virginia was about to come out with it. Lee stood at ease, slim and distinguished in his light silk summer suit and breeches. Duane, Wilson, Livingston, Rutledge, Robert Morris drew in their bps, their faces set. Lee held a piece of paper in his hand; he lifted it and read slowly; —

RLSOLVED, That these United Colonics are and of right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved”

Before a dissenting voice could be heard, John was on his feet to second the motion.

The debate raged that day and the next, a Saturday. Neither side would give an inch. Dickinson was in and out of the room, now arguing against Lee and two Adamses, now across the hallway with the Pennsylvania Assembly, pledging himself and the other Provincial conservatives to vote against independence. The Middle States insislcd they had no authority to declare for separation from Kngland; if the measure went through over their heads they would have no recourse hut to walk out of Congress, go home and perhaps witness their colonies secede from the Union.

Agreement was impossible. On Monday morning, June 10th, conciliators and radicals agreed to postpone the final decision, the final vote until July the 1st, three Mondays distant. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland were still doubtful, “not yet matured for failing from the parent stem,” Jefferson said. Both sides expected to use the delay to fullest advantage. Some members prepared to ride home at once; others sent urgent expresses bidding their Assemblies instruct for or against independence according to their several beliefs.

Meanwhile both factions agreed it was only prurient and sensible to prepare a declaration of independence, have it ready should the final vote be affirmative. Even the moderates did not wish to see so important a proclamation “huddled up in hurry by a few Chiefs.” To compose it, a committee of five was named. “The members chosen,” wrote Thomson in the Minutes, “Mr. Jefferson, Mr. J Adams, Mr. Fran him, Mr. Sherman, Mr. R R Livingston.”

Two days later, on Wednesday evening, Congress rose some time after six. John managed somehow to elude his colleagues and went off by himself lor supper at a little ordinary he knew on Race Street; the proprietor was a high son of liberty. John fell the need to be alone, eat a meal in peace, not be stifled by noise, smoke, the excited conversation of eight men or twenty.

Tonight it seemed to John that he could not endure another three weeks of waiting, three weeks of suspense, tension, the eternal contriving ol plans and maneuvers. Over and above all that, the machinery of war and government loomed before him, appalling in its sheer weight. Since Monday, John had seen his name affixed to three new committees— one to prepare the declaration, one lor foreign treaties, and a shattering affair called the Hoard of War and Ordnance. Of all, the last was most formidable.

Concerning the declaration, John thought, it would require nothing actually new or original. Congress, individual colonies — town? even had in the past two years sent out numerous declarations of right — carefully worded announcements anti justifications of the revolutionary position. A declaration of independence would of necessity be mostly repetition of these documents, with the inclusion of a forceful outline of America’s grievances against the King. It must of course be elegantly written, strong yet simple — something a nation could subscribe to and a world might comprehend.


FROM the most violent of the liberty men to the coolest of the “cool Devils,” everyone knew that independence was coming. Yet the hazard, the essential danger remained. Voting for independence meant voting for war. Those colonies which were against independence automatically would secede from the Union, be left out of the. confederation and by that token become enemy states. A unanimous vote was desperately necessary ; a mere majority would not do. In the doubtful Middle States, political workers doubled their efforts, sending reports by every post.

John himself had been furiously busy. It seemed to him he was alway s on his feet running to the City Tavern to nice I Mai lack and McKean and discuss how best to bring Pennsylvania around; stopping at ihe printer s to deliver some article of newspaper propaganda; meeting with the Board of War upstairs in the Coffee House. Once or twice he looked in on Jefferson where he sal writing the Declaration in his second-floor parlor at Seventh and Market Streets. Jefferson had protested this dulv; he was the youngest member of the omrnittee save Livingston, he said. Dr. franklin or Mr. Adams should properly lie the author.

John had merely laughed. Any draft of his would he three months in revision merely because an Adams wrote it —or any other New Knglandman, for that matter. “I am feared and hated in Congress,” John added. “And besides, Jefferson, you have a happy talent for composition, a peculiar felicity of expression. You write,”John finished bluntly, “ten times better than I do.

The choice of author had proved most fortunate; John himself was delighted with the Declaration, He and Franklin made a few minor liberations and the Committee of Five approved t lie rest. On June £8 ill the document had been reported to Congress, and lav now “on the table awaiting the vote on independence.

The days of doubt were nearly over; only a night remained. For John the tension had risen almost unbearably. His head ached, he fell feverish and the brief hot summer nights brought no refreshment. His appetite was gone; till meats tasted alike and when he forced himself to eat, the food lay sour on his stomach. John knew that tl he permitted himself to let go, he might sink in exhaustion. .

Once the vote was taken tomorrow, the politics of revolution would be finished. Nothing, John had written borne, “will remain but war. Ihete were other men who could manage a war far better than he. Not men of ideas but men of business were needed — men who knew how to raise loans, compute debts, coin money’, set prices, move supplies, manufacture arms. The whole Massachusetts delegation ought to resign and let younger men take their places in Congress. He himselt was forty, nearly forty-one. Rotation of office — was it not the very stuff of which republican government was made? Since the beginning, John had preached rotation, bill Massachusetts had not listened.

“I will go home,” he thought now, in a sudden wild upsurge of hope and homesickness, a wave ol longing for a life that Was his own once more, to do with as he pleased — a life secure, defined within happy limits to the farm, the Braintree pastures, to the law courts of Massachusetts and Johns own growing library. Harvest time was coming, even now the south field must be ripe with hay. When he threw a leg over his saddle John would like to know most urgently he would like it — that he need travel no farther than Plymouth Court House.

“T trill go home!” John repealed the words desperately in his mind. “ I trill petition, mg constituents to let me go. I will live with my family, practice lair, moke money and be at peace.”


ON Monday morning, July the 1st , 1776, John walked to the Pennsylvania Slate House at about half after eight. Todav the sky was cloudless; already the bricks and cobbles gave off heat. John went up three steps and through the wide double doors that opened on Chestnut Street. The ballway was cool, the dark floor grateful to the eve.

For John, every turn of this building, every room and corner was familiar. Yet today the scene was heightened; John felt each detail poignantly. To the left, over the doorway to the Assembly Room where Congress sal, the carved while ornamental face stared blindly, its wide eyeballs fixed. Beneath il the doorman lounged against the wall. John walked to him and gave him good morning. If the Maryland post should come while they were in session, John said, let any letters be delivered immediately to himself or President Hancock.

Turning in the door, John walked up the right aisle of the Assembly Room and found his usual seat near the front, beneath a window giving on the yard. The room was already filling. John laid his green lawyer’s bag on the wide window sill just above him, took out his papers, settled himself and glanced about with a searching, practiced eve. Across the room sal Dickinson in plum-colored coat and breeches, looking pale as death. James Wilson and Edward Rutledge leaned over him, talking earnestly,

The ranks of the independence men were thin this morning, with their best debaters at home, holding the local organizations to the line. Richard Henry Lee was at Williamsburg with ieorge Wythe, Gadsden in South Carolina, Chase still at Annapolis. Caesar Rodney in Delaware.

The actual procedure for this morning was entirely familiar to everyone. President Hancock would resolve Congress into a Committee of the Whole and come down from the Chair, thereby making both debate and vole unoflicial, a trial balloon as it were. It was an old. traditional, and highly useful parliamentary device for getting the sense of a legislative body just before il took official and irretrievable action “under the mace, ' or seal of royal authority. Also, it gave the President a chance to take part in the argument.

To the right behind the President’s chair the door opened and Sam Adams walked slovvlv in, caught sight of John and moved lo him. By the wav his head shook, John knew his cousin was agitated, He sat down and the papers in his hand rattled. “It won’t go through today,” Sam said. “We won’t move beyond the Committee of the Whole. Dickinson will have his say; I see it in his eye. That bundle of notes he holds is a speech, a lwavhour harangue by any wager. . . . And you. Cousin,”Sam raised a hand — “you will have to refute him. You seconded Lee’s Resolution And Lee is in Virginia.”

John turned impatiently to the back of the room. M here in God’s name, he wondered, were the new icpresentatives from Jersey? Chase s express from Annapolis should have got here long ago with the Maryland Instructions for independence. Of Delaware’s three delegates, only two were present, McKean and George Read —and Read was against independence. He would surely like, John said, to see Caesar Rodney’s bright wizened little appleface back there where it belonged. It might be wiser for Hancock to delay the vote till afternoon, giving time for the radical delegates to arrive. As the vole went in Committee, so il would go in full Congress either today or tomorrow. “If I have to talk for independence I will talk,” John told his cousin morosely. “Yet what can I say that hasn’t been hackneyed back and forth a hundred times in this room? What can anyone say, including our distinguished friend in the plum-colored coat?”

Sam scratched al a hole in his stocking just below the knee. “For our distinguished friend,” he repealed dryly, “there remains the allegory of the house and the inclement weather. Surely, you wouldn’t wish him to omit that trenchant bit? Besides, lie can always fall back on the well-known New England threat. You saw the Evening East a rt icle? ”

John turned, smiled warmly at his cousin. A week or two ago, the Pennsylvania Evening Post, a radical paper, had carried a list of highly pertinent brief statements under the heading, “What Patriots Fear.”John remembered it well: “Should independence be declared, I fear I shall lose my office. ... I fear I shall lose the honor of being related to men in office. ... I shall lose the rent of my house for two years or three. . . . The common people will have too much power in their hands. ... I fear the Sew Englanmen trill turn into Goths and Vandals and overrun this countryIt was absurd of course, vet the conservatives could testify to the truth of these fears.

I he clock iu the State House tower struck nine. President Hancock called for order, picked up a pile of papers from the table and began to read tdoud. . . . Three letters from General Washington . . . one from General Benedict Arnold . . . one from Schuyler . . . one from the Convention of New Jersey . . . 1 he Convention of New Hampshire. . . . Four!een separate letters, Hancock went through slowly, painstakingly, asking the sense of Congress concerning each. It was noon before he laid the last paper down, paused briefly, then announced that Congress would “resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to take into consideration the resolution concerning independence.

Leaning forward, Hancock picked up the mace— he loved punctilio — and handing it to the clerk, set authority ceremoniously aside and took his seal in the ranks. Benjamin Harrison, Chairman in Committee of the Whole, moved to the vacated Chair and let his large bulk slowly down.

At once, Dickinson was on his feet. His voice as he began was charged with emotion. He spoke fluently yet with a kind of halting earnestness, like a man who has thought much and painfully, rehearsing in the solitary hours what he would say. “My conduct this day I expect will give the finishing blow to my once too great, and my now too diminished popularity. Yet I had rather forfeit popularity forever, than vote away ihe blood and happiness of my countrymen.”

In spite of himself, John was impressed. There was a deep sincerity about Dickinsons manner; his thin face showed lines of strain. As he was speaking the door at the back of t he hall opened and the doorman walked up the north aisle, gave Hancock a large, official-looking envelope, then came round by ihe side wall and handed John a letter postmarked Annapolis. John tore it open. I am this moment from ihe House, he read, with a unanimous vote of our convention for independence. Now for a government. Jubeo tc bene micro. Your friend, S. Chase.

Farewell and be strong in the cause. Across the room, Hancock with a quick gesture held up his own loiter; his lips formed the word “Maryland. The small drama was not lost on the room. Underneath Dickinson’s voice, whispers sounded, Matyland for independence!”

“If We declare a separation without waiting to hear from France,” Dickinson was saying, we may be overwhelmed with debt a debt I have computed at six millions of Pennsylvania money a year. We shall ruin ourselves, and Britain will be ruined with us. France will rise on those ruins. Britain will push the war with a severity hitherto unimagined. Indians will be scl loose on our frontiers. Recollect, gentlemen, that Boston has been spared thus far. . . . Boston will be burned!”

In the chair to John’s right his cousin sal perfectly expressionless, arms folded across his breast.

“To escape from the protection of Britain by declaring independence, all unprepared as we arc, Dickinson continued, “would be like destroying our house in winter and exposing a growing family before we have got another shelter.”

Two Adamses by simultaneous impulse turned to each other, bowed slightly and ironically from the waist, then resumed attention, their faces bland. Dickinson went on and on, he must have talked an hour. The heat had grown stiffing. Light faded in the long room and there was a sound of thunder.

Dickinson drew himself up, raised his voice as if in peroration. Before this Resolution for independence was put to a vote it might be profitable to look ahead, he said, read a little into the future, into “the Doomsday Book of America.” A commonwealth of thirteen united colonies had been proposed. In twenty years or thirty, might not this great Union become unwieldy? Might it not of itself split into separate commonwealths? “I have a strong impression in my mind, said Dickinson, “that this will take place. In that case Dickinson paused, then spoke emphatically in that case, Hudson’s River would make a very proper boundary for a separate commonwealth to the northward.”

Handkerchief to his brow, Dickinson stood a moment, then sank to his chair. No one spoke. BY their window the par nobile fratrum were silent, waiting. Sam continued to gaze straight before him. John’s short, heavy fingers lay spread on his knees. Impossible, he thought angrily, that this thing must needs be hammered out again! Yet Dickinson, however trite his words, however specious his argument, had been impressive if only in ihe personal risk he took. He had spoken from the heart and in so doing had gambled away forever all chance of personal advancement, all chance of his being part of the new government of America should independence win the day. Such a man must not be permitted to have the last word.


JOHN drew in his breath with a long, powerful sigh. Against the windows the storm broke in a sudden flurry of rain. John stood up. He could wish for eloquence, he said — all the powers of the ancient orators of Greece and Rome. The preceding speaker had been eloquent indeed, his talent for expression was known throughout a continent. And yet how simple this argument, intrinsically. How plain the issue! Was it not rather a question for man’s ordinary understanding? Every honest person with open mind and senses alert can hear the moment strike for action, knows when the path turns beneath his feet.

All his life long, John was to hear his speech of July 1st referred to in terms of wonder, terms of praise. “He came out with a power of thought and expression that moved us from our seats, Jefferson said, years afterward. Yet no word of the speech was kept. Nobody took notes. All John himself could remember, when people asked him, was the opening phrase. To him, indeed, the whole performance had been a waste of breath.

But though his actual words escaped him, John never forgot the scene itself. While he was speaking the storm outside increased; John had to raise his voice against the roll of thunder. It grew dark; Hancock at his table beckoned to the clerk for candles. By then il was about four o’clock. John was still speaking when the door hung open from the hallway and three men entered, booted, spurred, rain dripping from their coats. It was the radical members from Jersey, come to vote for independence. John stopped and sat down, but Judge Stockton, speaking for New Jersey, asked to hear the affirmative argument before the vole should be taken in Committee of the Whole.

John got up, went patiently through the argument again as briefly as he could, addressing himself to the three Jerscymen who stood against the far wall. When he was done the opposition brought forth two more spceehmakers, both vehement, almost abusive.

One of the three Jerscymen, President Witherspoon of Princeton, ignoring the fact that he was an extremely new member of Congress, stepped boldly out from the wall. His coat, streaked with rain, was open, his clergyman’s bib lay wilted against his chest. “The distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts,”he said in a nasal, hoarse, and quite loud voice, “remarked as we came in t hat t he colonies are ripe for independence. I would like to add that some colonies”—Witherspoon looked pointedly at Alsop of New York who had just sat down — “some colonies are rotten for the want of it !”

Sam Adams, delight spreading visibly across his countenance, said something that sounded like “Hear! Hear!” From the Chair, Benjamin Harrison called hastily for order, announced that the vote would be taken. One by one he called the states by name. Massachusetts . . . four men stood up.New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut . . . unanimous for independence. . . . Sew York . . . not a man rose to his feet. . . . Delaware . . . McKean alone stood up; his colleague George Bead remained seated, his gaze fixed stolidly before him. . . . Pennsylvania . . .

When the vote was counted, it was nine to four for independence. “Resolved,’read Harrison slowly, right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of (treat Britain is and ought to be totally dissolred. ”

Nine states to four. New York had refused to vote, “for want of Instructions from home.” Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted Nay; Delaware’s two deputies were divided. Harrison gave up the Chair to Hancock who adjourned the meeting — until 9 o Clock to Morrow,” the Minutes read. Tomorrow the final vote would be taken, “in full Congress assembled.”

John Adams and Sam rose and moved quickly through the crowd, trying not to let triumph show too plainly on their faces. Much would depend, tomorrow, on Dickinson, Robert Morris and Rutledge, it would not be wise to antagonize them further. Outside the door, McKean was waiting with the Jersey delegates. The six men crossed the street together to the Fountain Tavern, talking eagerly. Today’s majority would in itself be the most powerful inducement to the four dissenting states. Rather than be left out of the Union they must surely capitulate.

But Mr. Dickinson, one of the Jerscymen remarked in a positive tone, would never vote for independence. There was, McKean countered quickly, a way around that impasse. Dickinson could simply stay away tomorrow, and Robert Morris with him. James Wilson, when it came to scratch, would vote Ay. So wall that young popi hi ay from South Carolina, McKean added confidently. “He took me by the coat as I came out, and promised as much. ‘For the sake of unanimity,’ he said.”

Nothing, it was agreed, could be done about New York for the present. Witherspoon, addressing McKean bluntly, demanded what about his own state of Delaware. Could Mr. Read be persuaded before the morrow?

McKean shook his head. It was his considered opinion that men like George Read made up their minds at birth to say No, and descended to the grave with the pleased consciousness that they had voted against everything. “But rest easy concerning Delaware,” McKean finished cheerfully. “Caesar Rodney will be here tomorrow if I have to travel to Dover myself after supper and bring him back by moonlight, riding pillion like a bride.”

McKean proved right on all counts. Next morning— it was Tuesday, July 2nd—Dickinson and Robert Morris stayed away. Wilson voted Ay, giving Pennsylvania a majority of three out of five. Edward Rutledge, true to promise, brought South Carolina around. Caesar Rodney, riding eighty miles in darkness and heavy rain, arrived just in time. McKean, who had sent horses at his own expense to Dover, waited for Rodney outside on the steps and brought him triumphantly in, still wiping the mud from his face and coat sleeves. W hen Delaware’s name was called, the two stood up together. Rodney delivered his vote with a little speech. All sensible men, he said, were for independence, and so, he believed, were his constituents. He cast his vote in the affirmative.

Twelve states for independence, with New York’s vote guaranteed; Henry Wisner promised it. New York would not stand alone, one colony against the rest. The thing was over, done, accomplished.


ON the south wall of the State House, high up, was a little balcony. From this balcony on Monday, July 8th, the Declaration was first proclaimed at noontime. Colonel Nixon of the Philadelphia Associators read it to a crowd that tilled the Stale House Yard. Troops, drawn up in formation, saluted, the people gave Three great huzzas. Fortynine members of Congress, standing just below the balcony, cheered too, then filed in through the State House door and went back to work.

It was not a very big celebration nor a loud one. Pennsylvania had made more noise, rung more bells and burned more bonfires when she held her first Provincial Conference. But there was no question that people felt deeply the significance of the Declaration. As the days passed and post riders carried it north and south, the country everywhere responded. In towns and hamlets men gathered, cheering as the Declaration was read from Meeting House steps, then ran to tear down the King’s Arms from their Court House doors. The lion and the unicorn would prance no more in these American States.

American States. . . . People tried the phrase, turning it over on their tongues. . . . God bless the American State.! . . . “This Declaration has had a glorious effect,” wrote Whipple of New Hampshire, who had voted for it in Congress. “It has made these colonies all alive.”. . . A hundred King Streets changed their names to State Street; Queen’s Street became Congress Way. In their homes, men turned the King’s portrait to the wall. Even the halfpenny that bore the royal face was degraded to a farthing. On Bowling Green, New Yorkers pulled down the dashing equestrian statue of George Bex and melted it into (the account was pleasingly specific) ”42,500 bullets. Worcester, Massachusetts, had a grand banquet. “24 Toasts were drank,” reported the Worcester Spy, “Perpetual itching and no scratching to America’s enemies. . . . May the freedom and independency of America endure, till the sun grows dim and ihis earth returns to chaos!”

On the 19th of July, 1776, the Declaration was proclaimed in Boston from the State House balcony. Abigail Adams was there. She had followed the crowd into King Street and stood across from the State House, waiting, her eyes fixed on the balcony that opened from the old Council Chamber. Troops stood at attention. The square, the streets were jammed with people. People perched on the rooftops; every window was filled with heads.

Here on this small square balcony, Thomas Hutchinson had stood on Massacre night, pleading with the multitude. ... A thousand angry faces upturned in the moonlight, a thousand hands ready for the shedding of blood. . . .

In the bright July noon sun the crowd began to shout as a man stepped to the balcony. Abby recognized him at once. It was Tom Crafts the house painter, Sam Adams’s right-hand man since 1764. “Colonel” Crafts, he was now. . . . His flat Yankee voice reached easily across the square, . “ end faced by their Creator with sort in . . . Crafts stumbled, went back . . . by their Creafor with sart’in unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It did not take him long to finish. “God save the American States! a new voice shouted from the balcony. Crafts flung up both arms and the crowd surged forward, cheering.

“The bells rang,” wrote Abigail that night to her husband. “The privateers fired, the forts and batteries, the cannon were discharged, the platoons followed and every face appeared joyful. After dinner the Kings Arms were taken down front the State House, and evert vestige of him from every place in which it appeared, and burnt. Thus ends the royal authority in this State. And all the people shall say Amen!”

Three hundred miles to the southward, John Adams sat in Philadelphia City I avern. It was dinnertime, and John had a table to himself in a far corner; Sam Adams and McKean had promised to join him. John was early; he had a full twenty minutes to wait. From his pocket he took his wife s letter and reread it. Abby, he thought with satisfaction, was a great hand at a description . “every vestige” of the King “from every place in which it appeared, and burnt.' He could see her face as she wrote— intent, serious, the lips drawn in. “And all the people shall say Amen!”

John looked up, his expression thoughtful, his blue eyes calm. And “thus cuds the royal authority". . . . Thus ends a way of living, a way ol thinking. “A new empire has arisen, styled the United States of America.” Judge Drayton of Carolina had declared it from the bench, in full court assembled. The United American States. There was great power in a name, a phrase. Yet before the world would recognize this name, a terrible war must be fought. ... I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support these States” John’s ow n words came back to him. “ ) et through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance. M dh solemn acts of devotion to God, ire ought to commemorate if. II it It pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other from this time forth forevermore.”

A hand fell on John’s shoulder. He looked up. “Cousin John,” Sam Adams said cheerfully. “ You are in a very brown study. I said your name three times. ... Is it well with you tonight?”

John smiled, filled suddenly with happiness, gratitude, a flood of deep feeling he could not have defined. With a wide sweeping gesture of hospitality he pulled out a chair. “It is very well with me tonight, Cousin, he said.