Sam Adams: On Just Opposition to Law

Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, Samuel Adams, 1766

An Opposition to an Act of Parliament merely from a regard to the Constitution cannot surely be looked upon as a Contempt of the Authority of Government since Government itself is built upon and circumscribed by the Constitution, or in other Words to contend for the grand Design and Ends for which Government was originally instituted is the best if not the only Way to support its Authority.

The Colonies were discontented with the Act [the Stamp Act] because they thought it overleaped the Bounds of the Constitution—that it defeated one of the essential Designs of Government in the Security of Property. If they were in an Error it was an Error of their Judgment only of which however they have never yet been convinced to insinuate that the Opposition to the Act was mere pretense and that the Design to the Colonies was to weaken the just Authority of Parliament and by degrees to shake off a constitutional Dependence is unsupportable by a single fact or the least Shadow of reason; it is base ungenerous and unjust.


Source: Samuel Adams: The Town of Boston to Dennvs de Berdt, October 22, 1766. “The Writings of Samuel Adams,” by Samuel Adams, collected and edited by Harry Alonzo Cushing, G.P. Putnan’s Sons, New York and London, 1904. Spelling has been modernized and abbreviations eliminated in this quote by Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal.


Liberty Letters are researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional commentary, explanatory notes, spelling modernizations, abbreviation elimination and paragraph reformatting for easier reading) by Steve Farrell. As amended Copyright © 2011 Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal.