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To have been one of those who subscribed their names to such a document as the Declaration of Independence, is of itself a rare felicity; to have been a powerful agent in producing the event which that declaration proclaimed and signalized, is a glory still more distinguished; but to have lived besides to see, at the expiration of half a century, the prosperous condition of the nation thus brought into existence, seems a consummation almost beyond the possibility of nature.
John ADAMs, to whom this remarkable favour of Providence has been allowed, was engaged, during the greater part of his life, so actively in public affairs, that the incidents of his career are inseparably blended with the history of the colony which claimed him for her son, and of the nation which honoured him as a father. It is impossible, therefore, to view his course of life, except in connexion with those arduous struggles of freedom against oppression, to which he lent a conspicuous energy, and gave up his whole heart and undivided zeal. He was fourth in descent from Henry Adams, who, according to the quaint inscription on his tomb at Quincy, “took his flight from the dragon Persecution in Devonshire, England, and alighted with eight sons near Mount Wollaston;” and he was also descended from John Alden, one of that pilgrim-band who first landed on Plymouth