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patriots and heroes to defend the vigorous youth, were then and there sown. Every man of an immense crowded audience appear ed to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance. Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition, to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born. In fifteen years, i. e. in 1776, he grew up to manhood and declared himself free.”

Few periods in history have been more fortunate for the developement of character than the fifteen years preceding the American Revolution. The sense of a constantly increasing oppression on the one hand, and the determined efforts of the ministry on the other, to enforce the most tyrannic councils, enlisted the greatest talents and drew forth all the intellectual resources of the country. Mr. Otis' natural love of liberty and his ideas of independence prompted him to espouse with warmth, and defend resolutely the cause of the colonies. He was sent at an early age to the provincial legislature, and soon became one of the most efficient and infiuential members of that assembly. His talents, supported by the most irreproachable integrity, gave him entire dominion over the minds and feelings of his party. From 1761 to '70, he devoted himself almost wholly to the service of the public. In his conversation and his writings he ever manifested the most ardent patriotism. His republican principles brought down upon him the hatred of Gov. Bernard, and afterwarıls of Gov. Hutchinson. His unwearied efforts to counteract the tyranny of the British ministry, and his unabated zeal in what he considered the cause of liberty, made him the idol of the popular party. No man spoke with more energy. His wit, his eloquence, and the force of his arguments bore away every thióg before him. Such was his influence that the ministry began to devise measures for removing him from the country. It was reported that a motion was made in Parliament to arrest him for high treason. He bad declined offices of profit and honor under the English Government, and measures of severity were now resorted to for removing him to a place where his influence could no longer defeat the plans of the ministry. Assassination was the base mean by which the American people were to be deprived of his efficient and active services. Representations regarding him the most dishonorable had been made by the provincial governor, and others to the British parliament; these had been detected, and their hatred of him increased. It was said that was it not for Otis, with Samuel Adams, and a few other factious demagogues, the colHis reputation had gone abroad into the adjoining provinces, and in cases of difficulty and importance, the council and aid of no one was sought with more eagerness and relied on with such confidence. His frank and undisguised manners gave him an almost unlimited control over the minds of the jury, while the correctness of his principles and his magnanimity, acquired for him the admiration of the court. The perfect urbanity of his manners, and the ardor of his patriotism, joined with these other popular qualities, made him no less the delight of the whigs, than the terror of the government party.

Soon after the conquest of Canada, the provinces were alarmed by a report that some unpleasant changes were about to be made in their government. The truth of the rumor was first seen in an order of council to carry into effect the acts of trade.

For this purpose writs of assistance, as they were called, were to be granted to the officers of the customs, on petition, by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Sewall gave it as his opinion that the writs were unconstitutional, and that the court had no right to grant them. The other judges were silent. The writs, being demanded by officers of the Crown, they could not be dismissed without a hearing, and the term of the Court held in February, 1761, at Boston, was appointed for arguing the question. The merchants looked forward to the decision with the deepest solicitude. Mr. Otis, as advocate general, was called on by the officers of the customs to manage their cause. He regarded the writs as illegal and tyrannical, and to avoid appearing in support of measures he deemed oppressive and unjust, he resigned his office. He was then applied to by the mercantile interest of Salem and Boston to oppose the granting the writs. He was aided by Mr. Thatcher, one of the most eminent of the profession of the law. Mr. Gridley, his former instructor, was employed by Government to oppose him. The case was opened by the latter gentleman, and argued with much learning and dignity. He was followed on the other side by Mr. Thatcher, in a speech remarkable for its ingenuity and candor, and the mildness and moderation with which it was pronounced. 6 But Otis," to use the language of the ex-president Adams, “ was a flame of fire ; with a promptitude of classical allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events and dates, a profusion of legal authorities, a prophetic glance of his eyes into futurity, and rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away all before him. American Independence was then and there born. The seeds of pairiots and heroes to defend the vigorous youth, were then and there sown. Every man of an immense crowded audience appear ed to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance. Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition, to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born. In fifteen years, i. e. in 1776, he grew up to manhood and declared himself free.”

Few periods in history have been more fortunate for the developement of character than the fifteen years preceding the American Revolution. The sense of a constantly increasing oppression on the one hand, and the determined efforts of the ministry on the other, to enforce the most tyrannic councils, enlisted the greatest talents and drew forth all the intellectual resources of the country. Mr. Otis' natural love of liberty and his ideas of independence prompted him to espouse with warmth, and defend resolutely the cause of the colonies. He was sent at an early age to the provincial legislature, and soon became one of the most efficient and influential members of that assembly. His talents, supported by the most irreproachable integrity, gave him entire dominion over the minds and feelings of his party. From 1761 to '70, he devoted himself almost wholly to the service of the public. In his conversation and his writings he ever manifested the most ardent patriotism. His republican principles brought down upon him the hatred of Gov. Bernard, and afterwards of Goy. Hutchinson. His unwearied efforts to counteract the tyranny of the British ministry, and his unabated zeal in what he considered the cause of liberty, made him the idol of the popular party. No man spoke with more energy. His wit, his eloquence, and the force of his arguments bore away every thióg before him. Such was his influence that the ministry began to devise measures for removing him from the country. It was reported that a motion was made in Parliament to arrest him for high treason. He had declined offices of profit and honor under the English Government, and measures of severity were now resorted to for removing him to a place where his influence could no longer defeat the plans of the ministry. Assassination was the base mean by which the American people were to be deprived of his efficient and active services. Representations regarding him the most dishonorable had been made by the provincial governor,

and others to the British parliament; these had been detected, and their hatred of him increased. It was said that was it not for Otis, with Samuel Adams, and a few other factious demagogues, the colonies might enjoy peace, and the plans of the ministry go into successful operation. The idea of taxing America without giving her a representative in Parliament, and making her governors independent of the people, were the least tolerable features in the oppressive measures of the parent country. The insulting conduct of the officers of the customs, enriching themselves at the expense of the people, and that of Hutchinson, then Lt. Governor, Chief Justice, Counsellor, and Judge of Probate, holding all these lucrative stations at the same time; these acts of injustice to his country, with the disclosure of the calumnies against him in their communications to the ministry, stung him to madness. He inserted an advertisement in the Boston Gazette, setting forth the abusive manner in which he had been treated by the commissioners of the customs, with some reflections of contempt on their characters. The next evening, Otis visited the British coffee house, where the commissioners, with some officers of the navy, army, and revenue, were sitting together. No sooner bad he entered the room, than an altercation took place between him and one of them, named Robinson. From harsh language they soon came to blows. Robinson gave Otis a blow with his cane, which was immediately returned. Upon this the lights were extinguished, and Otis, surrounded by his bitterest enemies, all of them adherents to the crown, received most barbarous and unmanly treatment. A young man passing by the house and hearing the affray, boldly went in and offered his assistance; he was shockingly bruised, beaten, and turned out of doors. Otis was left alone to maintain the unequal contest. They were, at length, however, separated, and Robinson made his escape at a back passage, and Otis was led home dangerously wounded and bleeding.

This affray created much excitement. The whole community was filled with the deepest indignation. The general impression was, that it was a preconcerted plan of assassinating him. six bludgeons and a scabbard were found on the foor after the struggle was over. Otis received a deep wound on bis head, which, in the opinion of his physicians, must have been inflicted with some sharp instrument. The public mind, already sore from the aggression and tyranny of the parent country, indignant at the insolence of a few petty oppressors, and now moved with highest resentment for this brutal and cowardly assault upon one in whom the friends of liberty had reposed the fullest confidence, was ready to avenge itself on its authors. The treatment Otis had re

ceived had impaired his reason, and in a measure deprived the public of his services. Temporary derangement affected him afterwards until his death. The assault was committed on hin the 5th of September, 1769. Only in his forty sixth year, in the midst of his usefulness, in the full enjoyment of the respect and admiration of his fellow citizens, and in a time too of greatest political excitement, it is cause of wonder the people did not proceed to acts of open violence.

An action was instituted against Robinson by Otis for this assault, and damages awarded by the Jury to the amount of two thou-' sand pounds sterling. On acknowledgement of his error, however, Otis magnanimously forgave him and discharged the debt.

Mr. Otis was not a member of the Legislature after 1771. While he was a member he was regarded as the most influential of it, and bis services were thought the most efficient. Whatever business he engaged in he devoted his whole soul to it. He spoke with ve. hemence, and in the choice of his fanguage he was elegant, and in bis allusions, classical. No man bad the power of addressing a popular assembly with more effect. As an orator he was eloquent in an eminent degree ; as a lawyer he was at the head of his profession; as a statesman and civilian he had no equal in America ; he was a most ardent patriot.

The following amusing anecdote is related by the venerable ex-president, John Adams.

“Otis belonged to a club wbo met on evenings; of which club William Molineux, whose character you know rery well, was a member. Molineux had a petition before the Legislature, which did not succeed to his wishes, and he became for several evenings sour, and wearied the company with his complaints of services, losses, sacrifices, &c. and said ;— That a man who has behaved as I have, should be treated as I am, is intolerable !" &c. Oiis had said nothing; but the company were disgusted and out of patience, when Otis rose from his seat, and said, “Come, come, Will, quit this subject, and let us enjoy ourselves : 1 also have a list of grievances; will you hear it ?” The club expected some fun, and all cried out, “aye! aye! let us hear your list.”

“Well then, Will : in the first place, I resigned the office of Advocate General, which I held from the crown, that produced me -how much do you think ?” “A great deal, no doubt,” said Molineux. “Shall we say two hundred sterling a year ?" "Aye, more, I believe," said Molineux. “Well, let it be two hundred,—that

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