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0105_001E Part III. Nathaniel Hawthorne

VI. A Collection Of Portraits

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On the next leaf of the book was the portrait of General Joseph Warren. Charley recognized the name, and said that here was a greater man than either Hancock or Adams.

"Warren was an eloquent and able patriot," replied Grandfather. "He deserves a lasting memory for his zealous efforts in behalf of liberty. No man's voice was more powerful in Faneuil Hall than Joseph Warren's. If his death had not happened so early in the contest, he would probably have gained a high name as a soldier."

The next portrait was a venerable man, who held his thumb under his chin, and, through his spectacles, appeared to be attentively reading a manuscript.

"Here we see the most illustrious Boston boy that ever lived," said Grandfather. "This is Benjamin Franklin. But I will not try to compress into a few sentences the character of the sage, who, as a Frenchman expressed it, snatched the lightning from the sky and the sceptre from a tyrant. Mr. Sparks must help you to the knowledge of Franklin."

The book likewise contained portraits of James Otis and Josiah Quincy. Both of them, Grandfather observed, were men of wonderful talents and true patriotism. Their voices were like the stirring tones of a trumpet arousing the country to defend its freedom. Heaven seemed to have provided a greater number of eloquent men than had appeared at any other period, in order that the people might be fully instructed as to their wrongs and the method of resistance.

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"It is marvellous," said Grandfather, "to see how many powerful writers, orators, and soldiers started up just at the time when they were wanted. There was a man for every kind of work. It is equally wonderful that men of such different characters were all made to unite in the one object of establishing the freedom and independence of America. There was an over-ruling Providence above them."

"Here, was another great man," remarked Laurence, pointing to the portrait of John Adams.

"Yes; an earnest, warm-tempered, honest and most able man," said Grandfather. "At the period of which we are now speaking he was a lawyer in Boston. He was destined in after years to be ruler over the whole American people, whom he contributed so much to form into a nation."

Grandfather here remarked that many a New-Englander, who had passed his boyhood and youth in obscurity, afterward attained to a fortune which he never could have foreseen even in his most ambitious dreams. John Adams, the second President of the United States and the equal of crowned kings, was once a schoolmaster and country lawyer. Hancock, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, served his apprenticeship with a merchant. Samuel Adams, afterwards governor of Massachusetts, was a small tradesman and a tax-gatherer. General Warren was a physician, General Lincoln a farmer, and General Knox a bookbinder. General Nathaniel Greene, the best soldier, except Washington, in the Revolutionary army, was a Quaker and a blacksmith. All these became illustrious men, and can never be forgotten in American history.

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Grandfather's Chair
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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