Samuel Adams—On Discovering Our True Happiness

Samuel Adams


Boston, October 21, 1772

To Andrew Elton Wells


I have receivd several Letters from you; and my not having returnd any Answer to them before, is owing by no means to an Inattention to them, but to my misfortune in not hearing of the few Vessells that pass from hence to Georgia being about to sail, till I lost the Opportunity. I therefore upon the first Notice, make use of this Conveyance to assure you of my tender Regards & Affection for you as a Brother; sincerely hoping this will meet yourself & Family in health & happiness. Indeed common Experience convinces me that there is very little Dependence upon either in this Life; We too often mistake our true Happiness, and when we arrive to the Enjoyment of that which seemd to promise it to us, we find that it is all an imaginary Dream, at the best fleeting & transitory. We have an affecting Instance of this within our own Connections; Your amiable Sister Kitty was agreably married, and when in the daily Expectation of seeing the happy Pledge of conjugal Affection, cutt off without a moments Warning of the fatal Stroke of Death! Still more happy however in another Life as we [have] abundant Reason to be assured; for the Christian Temper & Behavior she constantly exhibited, when she least expected it, afford us more solid hopes of her present Happiness, than any Expressions she might have made use of, had she been permitted, at the time of her Departure. One would from this & other like Instances conclude, that to be possessd of the Christian Principles, & to accommodate our whole Deportment to such Principles, is to be happy in this Life; it is this that sweetens every thing we enjoy; indeed of it self it yields us full Satisfaction, & thus puts it out of the power of the World to disappoint us by any of its frowns. …

Source: Samuel Adams. “Writings of Samuel Adams: Volume II,” excerpt from Letter to Andrew Elton Wells, October 21, 1772.

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