The British General Gage, in 1774, knew that bribery was a time-honored way to convert an enemy into a friend. This he tried to do by sending a Colonel Fenton to call on the American Samuel Adams, Fenton empowered to bestow on him whatever rewards would end his opposition to the British government. A figure of one thousand pounds sterling for life for Adams- and for his son- was bandied about! Or…?
Adams listened politely, even with a mild show of interest.
Gage’s “advice” was that Adams “should not displease His Majesty further”. Mr. Adams was reminded of the penalties of the act of Henry VIII, which allowed political enemies of the king/state to be sent for trial in England, which could mean losing one’s head. He could avoid that peril by changing his course…and in the process make his peace with the king. When Colonel Fenton had finished, he waited for Adams to name his terms.
Instead, Adams rose slowly from his chair and said “Sir, I trust I have long since made my peace with the King of Kings. No personal consideration shall induce me to abandon the righteous cause of my country.”
Showing Colonel Fenton to the door, Adams gave him a message for his commander. “Tell General Gage it is the advice of Samuel Adams to him…no longer insult the feelings of an exasperated people.”
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