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Great Britain is the sovereign legislator of all the British empire.”
Mr. Thatcher followed him on the other side, and argued with the softness of manners, the ingenuity, the cool reasoning which were peculiar to his amiable character.
But Otis 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 glare of his eyes into futurity, and a rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence he hurried away all before him. American independence was then and there born. The seeds of patriots and heroes to defend the Non Sine Diis Animosus Infans; to defend the vigorous youth were then and there sown. Every man of an immense crowded audience appeared 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.
The court adjourned for consideration, and after some days at the close of the term, Hutchinson chief justice arose and said, "The court has considered the subject of writs of assistance, and can see no foundation for such a writ; but as the
practise in England is not known, it has been thought best, to continue the question to next term, that in the meantime opportunity may be given to write to England for information concerning the subject." In six months the next term arrived; but no judgment was pronounced ; nothing was said about writs of assistance; no letters from England, and nothing more was said in court concerning them.—But it was generally reported and understood that the court clandestinely granted them and the custom house officers had them in their pockets, though I never knew that they dared to produce and execute them in any one instance.
Mr. Otis's popularity was without bounds. In May, 1761, he was elected into the house of representatives, by an almost unanimous vote. On that week I happened to be at Worcester attending a court of common pleas of which, brigadier Ruggles was chief justice. When the news arrived from Boston, you can have no idea of the consternation among the government people. Chief justice Ruggles at dinner at colonel Chandler's on that day, said, “Out of this election will arise a damn'd faction, which will shake this province to its foundation."
For ten years afterwards Mr. Otis, at the head of his country's cause, conducted the town of Boston and the people of the province with a prudence and fortitude, at every sacrifice of personal interest and amidst unceasing persecution, which would have done honour to the most virtuous patriot or martyr of antiquity.
John Adams, Letters (Boston, 1819), 244-247 passim.
13. Who Wants War? (1763)
By DEAN JOSIAH TUCKER
Dean of Gloucester, England. Interested in trade, and early predicted independence.
As to those who are always clamouring for War, and founding the Alarm to Battle, let us consider who they are, and what are their Motives; and then it will be no difficult Matter to determine concerning the Deference that ought to be paid to their Opinions, and the Merit of their patriotic Zeal.
1. The first on the Lift here in Britain (for different Countries have different Sorts of Firebrands) I say the first here in Britain is the Mock-Patriot, and furious Anti Courtier: He, good Man, always begins with Schemes of Economy, and is a zealous Promoter of national Frugality. He loudly declaims against even a small, annual, parliamentary Army, both on Account of its Expence, and its Danger; and pretends to be struck with a Panic at every Red
Coat that he sees. By persevering in these laudable Endeavours, and by fowing the Seeds of Jealousy and Distrust among the Ignorant and Unwary, he prevents such a Number of Forces, by Sea and Land, from being kept up, as are prudently necessary for the common Safety of the Kingdom: This is one Step gained. In the next Place, after having thrown out such a tempting Bait for Foreigners to catch at, on any trifling Affront he is all on Fire; his Breast beats high with the Love of his Country, and his Soul breathes Vengeance against the Foes of Britain: Every popular Topic, and every inflammatory Harangue is immediately put into Rehearsal; and, O LIBERTY! O MY COUNTRY! is the continual Theme. The Fire then spreads; the Souls of the noble Britons are enkindled at it; and Vengeance and War are immediately resolved upon. Then the Ministry are all in a Hurry; new Levies are half-formed, and half-disciplined :-Squadrons at Sea are half-manned, and the Officers mere Novices in their Businefs. In short, Ignorance, Unskilfulness, and Confusion, are unavoidable for a Time; the necessary Consequence of which is fome Defeat received, fome Stain or Dishonour cast upon the Arms of Britain. . .
“However, being now victorious, let us follow "the Blow and manfully go on, and let neither "Expence of Blood nor of Treasure be at all "regarded; for another Campaign will undoubt
A.P.S. Vol. I
"edly bring the Enemy to submit to our own "Terms, and it is impofsible that they should "stand out any longer.” Well, another Campaign is fought,—and another,—and another,—and another, and yet the Enemy holds out; nor is the Carte blanche making any Progress in its Journey into Britain. A Peace at last is made: the Terms of it are unpopular. Schemes of excessive Economy are called for by a new Set of Patriots; and the same Arts are played off to dethrone the reigning Minister, which he had practised to dethrone his Predeceffor. And thus the patriotic Farce goes round and round; but generally ends in a real and bloody Tragedy to our Country and to Mankind.
2. The next in this List is the hungry Pamphleteer, who writes for Bread. The Ministry will not retain him on their Side, therefore he must write against them, and do as much Mifchief as he can in order to be bought off.
3. Near a-kin to this Man, is that other Monster of modern Times, who is perpetually declaiming against a Peace, viz. the Broker, and the Gambler of Change-alley. Letters from the Hague, wrote in a Garret at Home for Half a Guinea; the first News of a Battle fought (it matters not how improbable) with a List of the Slain and Prisoners, their Cannon, Colours &c. Great Firings heard at Sea between Squadrons not yet out of Port;—a Town taken before the