39 in boston adamss election left benjamin edes

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39 In Boston, Adams's election left Benjamin Edes despairing. Edes, like Mercy Otis Warren, believed that Adams had betrayed everything the Revolution had been fought for. In q98, Adams signed the Sedition Act, making defaming his administration a federal crime. Twenty- five people were arrested, fifteen indicted, and ten convicted, including Benjamin Franklin's grandson, who died of yellow fever before he could be brought to court. 40 Two months after passage of the Sedition Act, Edes gave up his newspaper. "I bid you FAREWELL!" he wrote, in the final issue of the Boston Gazette. "Maintain your Virtue-Cherish your Liberties!" He closed his shop. He moved his printing press into his house-it filled the whole of his small parlor-and tinkered with types. 41 Jefferson defeated Adams in the election of I8oo. With- out the three-fifths clause, Adams would have won, which is why one Boston newspaper writer observed that Jefferson had ridden "into the temple of Liberty on the shoulders of slaves." 42 On March 4, I80I, the day after the Sedition Act expired, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated. In his inaugural address, he talked about "the contest of opinion," a contest waged, in his lifetime, in the pages of the newspaper. Three months after Jefferson's inauguration, Edes died, destitute. YOUR SUPEREXCELLENT AGE 145 In his will, he left a single font of types to his son, Peter, who had suffered in his stead. The rest of his estate he instructed his wife to sell, to settle his debts. 43 It wasn't enough. Thomas Paine returned to the United States in I802 a ' broken man. Samuel Adams died in Boston the next year. In Paine's tortured final years, living in New Rochelle and New. York City, he displayed signs of dementia. He was besieged by visitors who came either to save his soul or to damn it. He told all of them to go to hell. When an old woman an- nounced, "I come from Almighty God to tell you that if you do not repent of your sins and believe in our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, you will be damned," Paine replied, "Pshaw. God would not send such a foolish ugly old woman as you."44 The longer- John Adams lived, the more he hated Thomas Paine. By the end of his life, the ex-president \Vould call Com- mon Sense "a poor, ignorant, Malicious, short-sighted, Cra- pulous Mass." Adams also railed that the latter part of the eighteenth century had come to be called "The Age of Rea- son": "I am willing you should call this the Age of Frivolity, and would not object if you had named it the Age of Folly, Vice, Frenzy, Brutality, Daemons, Buonaparte, Tom Paine, or the Age of the Burning Brand from the Bottomless Pit ' or anything but the Age of Reason." But even Adams ad- mitted, "I know not whether any man in the world has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine," concluding, "Call it then the Age of Paine." 45 Adams wrote those words, in I8o6, as if Paine were already dead. He was not. That year, a neighbor of Paine's came across the old man himself, in a tavern in New York, so drunk and disoriented and unwashed and unkempt that his toenails had grown over his toes. Once, Paine hobbled to the polls in New Rochelle to cast his vote in a local election. He
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Christopher Reinemann
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