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Part III. Nathaniel Hawthorne

X. The War For Independence

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"How did he find it out?" asked Charley; "for I suppose the chair could not tell its own history."

"There used to be a vast collection of ancient letters and other documents in the tower of the Old South Church," answered Grandfather. "Perhaps the history of our chair was contained among these. At all events, Samuel Adams appears to have been well acquainted with it. When he became governor, he felt that he could have no more honorable seat than that which had been the ancient chair of state. He therefore purchased it for a trifle, and filled it worthily for three years as governor of Massachusetts." "And what next?" asked Charley.

"That is all," said Grandfather, heaving a sigh; for he could not help being a little sad at the thought that his stories must close here. "Samuel Adams died in 1803, at the age of above threescore and ten. He was a great patriot, but a poor man. At his death he left scarcely property enough to pay the expenses of his funeral. This precious chair, among his other effects, was sold at auction; and your Grandfather, who was then in the strength of his years, became the purchaser."

Laurence, with a mind full of thoughts that struggled for expression, but could find none, looked steadfastly at the chair.

He had now learned all its history, yet was not satisfied.

"Oh, how I wish that the chair could speak!" cried he. "After its long intercourse with mankind,--after looking upon the world for ages,--what lessons of golden wisdom it might utter! It might teach a private person how to lead a good and happy life, or a statesman how to make his country prosperous."

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Grandfather's Chair
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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