†††††††††††††††† "MERCY TO THE PATRIOT"
†††††††††††† The Ordeal of James Otis and
††††††††††††††† the American Revolution
†††††††††††††††††††† Charles Deemer
††††††††††† TIME & P.LACE: 1761-1783, Boston
††††††††††† Mercy Otis Warren (poet, sister)
†††††††††††††† James Otis (lawyer, House)
††††††††††††† Thomas Hutchinson (Lt. Gov.)
††††††††† Col. Otis (Speaker of House, father)
††††††††††††††††††† Ruth Otis (wife)
†††††††††††††† Sam Adams (tax collector)
††††††††††††††††† John Adams (lawyer)
†††††††††† James Warren (House, M's husband)
†††††††††††††† Andrew Oliver (Secretary)
††††††††††† Gov. Francis Bernard (Governor)
†††††††††††††††††††††† The Crowd
†††††††††††††† ††Quartet (songs, poem)
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (503) 452-8277
SONG 1 (POEM): WARREN
"Taxation of America" by Peter St. John
†WARREN: While I relate my story / Americans give ear; /
† Of Britain's fading glory / You presently shall hear; /
† I'll give you true relations, / Attend to what I say /
† Concerning the taxation / Of North Ameri-kay
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: This is the story of my brother, James
† Otis. Among those who have been forgotten, there is no
† more important figure in the American Revolution.
†WARREN: The cruel lords of Britain / Who glory in their
† shame, / The project they have hit on / They joyfully
† proclaim; / Tis what they're striving after / Our right
† to take away / And rob us of our charter / In North
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: I'm Mercy Otis Warren, a poet, a
† playwright -- the first American playwright, historians
† call me now. I had hoped to be the editor of my brother's
† collected writings, but history had other plans for
† Jemmy and his papers never got published. This is why
† you know so little about him today. The story of how
† this came to be begins in a courtroom in Boston, on a
† blustery day in November, 1761. Thomas Hutchinson, Lt.
† Governor of the Province of Massachusetts, presided over
† an extraordinary case.
SCENE 1: HUTCHINSON, OTIS
†HUTCHINSON: The Court now will hear James Otis...Junior.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: After the death of King George II,
† legal papers had to be replaced with new ones bearing
† the seal of King George III. The Writs of Assistance
† were documents that gave customs officials the authority
† to search for contraband. When the new Writs arrived,
† however, more than an official seal had been changed.
† The wording of these new documents had become much
† broader and more general in scope. Specific searches for
† specific contraband no longer had to be specified. The
† Writs upset my brother so much that he resigned as
† King's Advocate because in that position he would have
† to defend them.
†HUTCHINSON: Or does Otis, Junior, need more time?
†OTIS: I'm ready, your honor ... I would like to remind
† the Court that my duty, as King's Advocate, was to
† defend these Writs of Assistance, and that I have
† resigned my position with this Court in order to argue
† in behalf of the inhabitants of Boston against them. I
† have accepted no fee in this case. Nor do I argue for
† personal gain or from personal bias. I argue as I do
† because I oppose, and shall oppose to my dying day, all
† such instruments of slavery and villainy as this Writ of
† Assistance is. It appears to me to be the worst
† instrument of arbitrary power ever found in an English
† law book. This Writ is a general power that places the
† liberty of every man, every subject in the King's
† dominions, in the hands of every petty officer. A person
† with this Writ may enter, in broad daylight, all houses
† and shops and buildings at will, and command all to
† assist him.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: The case was well argued on both
† sides, but Hutchinson decided to confer with England
† before making a decision. After court was adjourned,
† Jemmy was approached by a young admirer, John Adams.
SCENE 2: JOHN ADAMS, OTIS
†JOHN ADAMS: Your argument was very moviing, sir.
†OTIS: But perhaps not logical enough to convince Mr.
† Hutchinson. He has to ask England what to do.
†JOHN ADAMS: I think you won, sir.
†OTIS: And I think a delay is as good as defeat.
†JOHN ADAMS: I planned to take notes but was so captured
† by your eloquence I took no notes at all.
†OTIS: Are you a lawyer?
†JOHN ADAMS: Just beginning, sir.
†OTIS: If you let yourself be so distracted by eloquence,
† Mr. Adams, that you neglect a cold look at the logic of
† a plea, you'll find yourself swept along by every
† ignorant honeymouth in the Province.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: Our father, Colonel James Otis, Sr.,
† was the Speaker of the House and the leading candidate
† to be appointed as the new Chief Justice by Gov. Bernard.
† Father did not approve of Jemmy's resignation as King's
SCENE 3: OTIS, COL. OTIS
†OTIS: I cannot defend tyranny.
†COL. OTIS: That is hardly the intention of--
†OTIS: The Writ itself, not the intention. It compromises
† the liberty of us all. Not even the Speaker of the House
† is immune.
†COL. OTIS: The Speaker of the House merely came forward
† to compliment his son on a well-spoken plea.
†OTIS: Then you've changed your mind about the Writ?
†COL. OTIS: I do not have to agree with a plea in order to
† admire its execution.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: England decided against Jemmy, refusing
† to rescind the new Writs of Assistance. At about the
† same time, Hutchinson himself, not father, was appointed
† Chief Justice. Once again Jemmy was outraged. This time
† he resigned his seat in the House. He then wrote a
† scathing piece in the Gazette against Hutchinson,
† arguing that no man should occupy positions in both the
† executive and judicial branches of government. This
† article inspired another young Adams who admired my
† brother, John's cousin Samuel, the local tax collector.
SCENE 4: SAM ADAMS, OTIS
†SAMUEL ADAMS: Why are you resigning on the eve of victory?
† You under-estimate the force of your own pen. The piece
† in the Gazette is brilliant.
†OTIS: What victory was that? I lost the case.
†SAMUEL ADAMS: But you've alerted the people! Anyone using
† the Writ now would risk facing a mob ready to snatch it
† from his hands.
†OTIS: None of my colleagues in the House agrees with you.
† They condemn my article. And threats of violence,
† Samuel, solve nothing.
†SAMUEL ADAMS: When the people are outraged, they speak as
† best they can.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: Then England levied new taxes on the
† colonies, and Hutchinson appointed Andrew Oliver, the
† Secretary of the Province, to be the Stamp Master to
† administer them.
SCENE 5: OLIVER, HUTCHINSON
†OLIVER: I have too many duties already. Where would I
† find time to administer these damned stamps?
†HUTCHINSON: The Crown has given us a Stamp Master, and I
† prefer someone I can trust. I don't like these new taxes
† any more than you do, but they are the law.
†OLIVER: Thomas, please find someone else. I'll be at the
† mercy of every drunken ruffian in town.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: The people of Boston did not welcome
† these new taxes. Meetings and rallies against them were
† held, and usually Jemmy was the leading speaker.
SCENE 6: OTIS, CROWD
†CROWD: No taxes! No taxes! No taxes!
†OTIS: Gentlemen, we meet here tonight to discuss the
† Stamp Act which is soon to reach our shores, the Stamp
† Act that will transfer money from our pockets to
† Britain's purse. We also are here because as free
† citizens we are obliged to be here. The God-given
† natural rights which are the foundation of government
† are also the foundation of the Constitution of Britain
† and of our Colonial Charter. Let us not forget for a
† single moment, as we list our grievances here tonight,
† that we are not here to criticize the Constitution but
† to defend it. We are against the Stamp Act because it is
†CROWD: No taxes! No taxes!
†OTIS: Is it right that in order to raise revenue a people
† be taxed who have no say in the very form those taxes
† take? For example, would it be right for the House of
† Representatives in the Province of Massachusetts to pass
† a measure that taxed the merchants of London, who have
† no representation in our House? Of course not. And so
† London cannot tax our Boston merchants, who have no
† representation in Parliament in London. There can be no
† taxation without representation.
†CROWD: No taxation! No taxes!
†OTIS: Therefore, the Stamp Act is without effect in
† Massachusetts. It does not exist because it cannot exist.
† The Constitution does not permit it. Parliament has no
† alternative but to repeal it, and immediately. For
† taxation without representation is tyranny!
†CROWD: No taxation without representation! No taxes!
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: If father was not pleased with Jemmy's
† continued rebellion, my sister-in-law Ruth was even more
† upset. Jemmy's marriage had shocked us all. All the
† Otis' belonged to the Whig Party -- and Ruth was an
† aristocratic High Tory, born and bred.
SCENE 7: RUTH, OTIS
†RUTH OTIS: Did you know your loyalty is being questioned?
†OTIS: Loyalty to whom?
†RUTH OTIS: To the Crown.
†OTIS: That's ridiculous. I'm† defending the Constitution!
†RUTH OTIS: Tonight Secretary Oliver confided to me that
† the question of your loyalty has been raised in
† Parliament itself. He asked me to talk to you.
†OTIS: I've never given anyone reason to question my
†RUTH OTIS: James, I'm becoming an object of pity. You
† should hear how people are beginning to talk.
†OTIS: What do you want from me?
†RUTH OTIS: I know we have different opinions about many
† things, dear, but at least in the past you've given no
† one reason to doubt your loyalty to the Crown.
†OTIS: I am so loyal to the Crown that I defend its
† Constitution! What else can I do? Am I to watch the best
† document on earth whittled at until it is no more than
† the thorn of tyranny?
†RUTH OTIS: No one understands that this is what you're
† doing. Some think the worst, dear. The very worst.
SONG 2 - THE QUARTET
Loyalist song: "The Rebels" by Captain Smythe (Tune: Black
Ye brave honest subjects who dare to be loyal,/ And have
stood the brunt of every trial,/ Of hunting shirts and rifle
guns;/ Come listen awhile and Iíll tell you a song;/ Iíll
show you those Yankees are all in the wrong,/ Who, with
blustering look and most awkward gait,/ ĎGainst their lawful
sovereign dare for to prate,/ With their hunting shirts and
Forgetting the mercies of Great Britainís King,/ Who saved
their forefathersí necks from the string,/ With hunting
shirts and rifle guns,/ They renounce all allegiance and
take up their arms,/ Assemble together like hornets in
swarms,/ So dirty their backs, and so wretched their show,/
That carrion-crow follows wherever they go,/ With their
hunting shirts and rifle guns.
Come take up your glasses, each true loyal heart,/ And may
every rebel meet his due desert,/ With his hunting shirt and
rifle gun./ May Congress, Conventions, those damned
inquisitions,/ Be fed with hot sulphur from Luciferís
kitchens,/ May commerce and peace again be restored,/ And
Americans own their true sovereign lord./ Then oblivion to
shirts and rifle guns.
GOD SAVE THE KING!
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: At Ruth's insistence, Jemmy finally
† made an appointment to see Governor Bernard.
SCENE 8: HUTCHINSON, BERNARD, OTIS
†HUTCHINSON: With all due respect, Governor, if the people
† refuse to pay these taxes--
†GOV. BERNARD: Of course they'll pay them.
†HUTCHINSON: In today's Gazette, Samuel Adams suggested
† that the people of Massachusetts follow the example of
† Virginia and refuse to pay them.
†GOV. BERNARD: Adams! I'm going to take care of him, as
† well as Otis. Adams has never collected the taxes! He
† must be putting the money in his own pockets.
†HUTCHINSON: I just feel that with so much popular support
†GOV. BERNARD: I said, Bring me Otis!
†HUTCHINSON: Yes, sir.
†OTIS: Governor ...
†GOV. BERNARD: What is it you want?
†OTIS: I am here to pronounce and clarify my loyalty to
† the Crown.
†GOV. BERNARD: Then what is all this constant nitpicking
† and finding fault with this administration's running of
† things? Do we not get our power from the Constitution
† and Charter?
†OTIS: If I ever seem critical, sir, it is only because I
† love the Constitution so much that I abhor anything that
† violates it.
†GOV. BERNARD: I trust you've seen these resolves out of
† Virginia, that Samuel Adams has insisted on publishing.
†OTIS: I've seen them.
†GOV. BERNARD: And how do they mix with your love of the
†OTIS: I must confess that I find them, a few portions of
† them, close to treason.
†GOV. BERNARD: Really? I'm surprised to hear you say that.
†OTIS: One does not respond to an unconstitutional act by
† advocating other unconstitutional acts. The proper
† course is for the Stamp Act to be repealed.
†GOV. BERNARD: But if it isn't?
†OTIS: It must be. It's unconstitutional.
†GOV. BERNARD: The citizens of Virginia have been asked by
† their own legislature to disobey the law, have they not?
† And Virginia would declare something close to war on
† those of us who accept the law. What then would you have
† the citizens of Massachusetts do?
†OTIS: I advocate the quick repeal of the Stamp Act.
†GOV. BERNARD: Do we obey it or not?
†OTIS: It must be repealed.
†GOV. BERNARD: But obeyed or disobeyed in the meantime?
†OTIS: Governor, I have never been disloyal to the Crown.
†GOV. BERNARD: Until repealed, should the Stamp Act be
† obeyed or not? Is it the law or not?
†OTIS: For the moment, it is law. But it is not a
† constitutional law and will certainly be repealed.
†GOV. BERNARD: But at this hour, Otis, it is the law. Am I
†GOV. BERNARD: Good. If you would be willing to publicly
† clarify your views, just as you've clarified them now, I
† think you would go far in proving your loyalty.
†OTIS: Are you asking me to publish something on the matter?
†GOV. BERNARD: A clarification, yes. A vindication,
† perhaps, to remove the suspicion of those who do not
† realize that you advocate compliance with the law.
†OTIS: I will write such a vindication.
†GOV. BERNARD: Excellent. One other thing. I want to
† apologize for not appointing your father as Chief
† Justice. I was new to the Province and more familiar
††with Hutchinson's qualifications than his. However, I do
† plan to nominate him for appointment to the Governor's
†OTIS: Father will be very pleased.
†GOV. BERNARD: I also want to reinstate you as King's
† Advocate. You're a brilliant lawyer.
†OTIS: I would have to think about it.
†GOV. BERNARD: Does a man who is loyal to the Crown refuse
† honor by the Crown?
†OTIS: I am not disloyal.
†GOV. BERNARD: Then you accept?
†GOV. BERNARD: The Crown will be pleased to be represented
† by the best lawyer in Boston.
SONG 3 - THE QUARTET
Loyalist song: "God Save the King" ("My Country Tis of Thee"
uses this tune)
God save great George our King,/ Long live our noble King,/
God Save the King!/ Send him victorious,/ Happy and glorius,/
Long to reign over us,/ God Save the King.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: People were shocked by the publication
† of Jemmy's Vindication. He became an object of sudden
SONG 4 (POEM) - THE QUARTET, CROWD
POEM - Anonymous
†QUARTET #1: As Jemmy is an envious dog
†QUARTET #2: And Jemmy is ambitious
†QUARTET #3: And rage and slander, spite and dirt
†QUARTET #4: To Jemmy are delicious
†QUARTET #2: So Jemmy rail'd at upper folks
†QUARTET #1: While Jemmy's dad was out
†QUARTET #3: But Jemmy's dad now has a place
†QUARTET #4: So Jemmy's turn'd about!
†CROWD: Turnabout Jemmy! Turnabout Jemmy! Turnabout Jemmy!
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: (overlapping) All over Boston,
† likenesses of Oliver, the Stamp Master, were being hung
† in effigy.
SCENE 9: OTIS, SAM ADAMS
†OTIS: Samuel, did you do this?
†SAMUEL ADAMS: Unfortunately, no, I can only congratulate
† its author on an excellent likeness.
†OTIS: Cut it down.
†SAMUEL ADAMS: Why have you suddenly forgotten the
† Constitution you loved so well?
†OTIS: I've not forgotten it.
†SAMUEL ADAMS: You're going to argue for the Crown again.
†OTIS: It's the Crown's Constitution.
†SAMUEL ADAMS: The Governor wants me in jail. You are now
† the agent to get me there.
†OTIS: Your case will be decided by the facts and by the
†SAMUEL ADAMS: The people will decide the case before then.
† They're going to demand Oliver's resignation as Stamp
†OTIS: They must be patient. The Stamp Act will be repealed.
†SAMUEL ADAMS: Maybe so. In the meantime, they'll repeal
† it themselves.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: And indeed, Oliver, facing a mob and
† fearing for his life, resigned as Stamp Master. The
† crowd then gathered outside of Hutchinson's home to
† celebrate. But, as will happen with a mob, things soon
† got out of hand ...
SCENE 10: HUTCHINSON, OLIVER, COL. OTIS, OTIS
†CROWD: Get Hutchinson! Down with Hutchinson! Get
† Hutchinson! Down with Hutchinson!
†HUTCHINSON: The hellish crew fell upon my house with the
† rage of devils! They gutted everything. Destroyed my
† furniture and emptied my wine cellar. Robbed my strongbox.
† Broke my windows, destroyed my drapes, vandalized my
† fine paintings. They would not quit until they had
† removed the slate from my roof!
†OLIVER: They threw the manuscript of your History of
† Massachusetts into the streets and trampled upon it. A
† neighbor retrieved what he could.
†HUTCHINSON: Then it's all I have left.
†OLIVER: They thought we plotted the Stamp Act ourselves.
†HUTCHINSON: As God is my witness, I have striven as much
† as any man to prevent it. I've never thought it fair or
† constitutional. But it is the law, and it's my duty to
† uphold the law.
†CROWD: No taxes! No taxes! No taxes!
†COL. OTIS: James! See what your inflammatory rhetoric
† leads to?
†OTIS: Father, I did not lead the mob!
†COL. OTIS: You're the one who started stirring up the
† people over this.
†OTIS: I only meant to defend the Constitution!
†COL. OTIS: Inflammatory rhetoric leads to inflammatory
†CROWD: No taxes! No taxes!
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: Boston was in mourning after the
† violence. But then news came that the Stamp Act was
† repealed. Of course, there was much celebrating in the
† streets. For my part, I celebrated by starting to write
† a play, a political satire, about the recent events.
SCENE 11: RUTH, MERCY
†RUTH OTIS: I would think you'd let a dead horse rest in
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: Dead horses can be the most fun to
† ride. And just because England has come to her senses,
† doesn't mean that Boston has.
†RUTH OTIS: The recent election proves that! To put so
† many Whigs in office is hardly good sense ...
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: My husband, James Warren, led a Whig
† campaign for reform. Following Jemmy's earlier arguments,
† he gathered support in the House to prevent Hutchinson
† from serving both in the judicial branch as Chief
† Justice and in the executive branch on the Governor's
† Council. John got the votes to remove the Lt. Gov. from
† the Council. But this† victory, such as it was, was
† brief. Once again the Crown levied new taxes on the
† colonies, and this time sent a Commissioner from London
† to collect them.
SCENE 12: HUTCHINSON, BERNARD
†GOV. BERNARD: The Commissioner tells me that London is
† abuzz with talk of Otis.
†HUTCHINSON: It's Samuel Adams who puts his Mohawks in the
† street. Otis is mostly wind.
†GOV. BERNARD: Then we'll have a tornado on our hands when
† he learns I vetoed his nomination as Speaker of the House.
†HUTCHINSON: It won't be the first Otis tornado. But it's
† still Adams who worries me most.
†GOV. BERNARD: The problem in Boston has always been with
† the North End and South End street gangs. They used to
† be satisfied with beating each other up on Pope Day.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: Once again, my brother was leading the
† fight against the new taxes.
SCENE 13: OTIS, JOHN ADAMS
†OTIS: Be it resolved: that for a period of one year,
† beginning this Fall of 1767, we will not send for or
† import from Great Britain, any kind of goods or
† merchandize except the following: salt, coals, fishhooks
† and lines, hemp, duck, bar-lead and shot, wool-cards and
† card-wire. Only the repeal of the Townshend duties can
† in turn repeal this resolution.
†JOHN ADAMS: Sir, I'm John Adams.
†OTIS: I remember you.
†JOHN ADAMS: I don't think we're going far enough.
†OTIS: How do you mean?
†JOHN ADAMS: Since we have no representation in Parliament--
†OTIS: Representation in Parliament should be our next
† step. It's the only way to resolve this.
†JOHN ADAMS: No, I think there's another way. You're the
† one who first convinced me of this. "Taxation without
† representation is tyranny." We should put the whole
† argument on the table: they have no jurisdiction over
† us, period.
†OTIS: John, when you enter politics--
†JOHN ADAMS: Which is never!
†OTIS: --you'll learn you have to compromise. We have to
† get all the colonies together on this, and the southern
† colonies would never support a position that strong.
†JOHN ADAMS: It seems to me they just keep replacing one
† tax with another. Where does it end?
†OTIS: With colonial representation in Parliament.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: But this, of course, didn't happen.
† What happened was an escalation of the conflict, and the
† beginning of the history that you study in school. Today
† no one knows about James Otis but everyone knows that
† Samuel Adams and his Mohawks held a Boston Tea Party.
SONG 5 - THE QUARTET
"Revolutionary Tea", traditional
There was an old lady lived over the sea/ And she was an
Island Queen./ Her daughter lived off in a new countrie,/
With an ocean of water between;/ The old lady's pockets were
full of gold/ But never contented was she,/ So she called on
her daughter to pay her a tax/ Of three pence a pound on her
tea,/ Of three pence a pound on her tea.
"Now mother, dear mother," the daughter replied,/ "I shan't
do the thing you ask./ I'm willing to pay a fair price for
the tea,/ But never the three penny tax."/ "You shall,"
quoth the mother, and reddened with rage,/ "For you're my
own daughter, you see,/ And sure, 'tis quite proper the
daughter should pay/ Her mother a tax on her tea,/ Her
mother a tax on her tea."
And so the old lady her servant called up/ And packed off a
budget of tea;/ And eager for three pence a pound, she put/
In enough for a large family./ She order'd her servants to
bring home the tax,/ Declaring her child should obey,/ Or
old as she was, and almost woman grown,/ She'd half whip her
The tea was conveyed to the daughter's door,/ All down by
the ocean's side;/ And the bouncing girl pour'd out every
pound/ In the dark and boiling tide./ And then she called
out to the Island Queen,/ "O mother, dear mother," quoth
she,/ "Your tea you may have when 'tis steep'd enough/ But
never a tax from me."
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: Protest against the taxes increased so
† much that England stationed troops in Boston to maintain
† law and order. What resulted was more tension than ever.
† Then, on the snowy night of March 5, 1770, a growing
† crowd began taunting soldiers at the Custom House.
† Finally British troops fired into the crowd, killing
† four men. Today you call this "the Boston Massacre." The
† soldiers were arrested and put to trial and, to the
† surprise of many, the lawyer defending them was John
SCENE 14: JOHN ADAMS
†JOHN ADAMS: I have the example of James Otis, who would
† insist that every man in the Province has the right to a
† fair trial and to fair legal representation. Therefore,
† though there be no less popular task in Boston, I agree
† to defend the British soldiers in the trial of the so-
† called masacre.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: When the soldiers were found innocent,
† Samuel Adams was outraged. More tension than ever filled
† the streets.
†CROWD: No justice! No justice! No justice!
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: All of this depressed my brother.
† Everywhere Jemmy looked, he saw his beloved Constitution
† being violated, and as the conflict between England and
† the colonies escalated, so did Jemmy's frustration and
† instability. He started swearing at strangers on the
† streets. He fell into fits, destroying furniture and
† breaking windows. And he would say the oddest things at
† the oddest times, even in the House ...
†OTIS: The Lt. Governor claims that I destroyed his slate
† roof! Can anything be more patently absurd? Think of the
† logic of such a statement. The Lt. Governor admits that
† a mob of furies ransacked his home, destroying almost
† everything. If a house is destroyed, then of what use is
† its roof? But let me assure my colleagues that I did not
† destroy the Lt. Governor's slate roof or, for that
† matter, any slate roof in the Province. I could never
† destroy a slate roof because, in fact, I adore them! I
† have never uttered a sentiment in this hallowed hall
† more sincere than what I will tell you now: that I wish
††my house had a slate roof! If I had not become a lawyer,
† surely I would have taken up the trade of manufacturing
† slate roofs!
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: When Jemmy started picking fights in
† the House of Representatives, sometimes coming to blows,
† it was the last straw.
SCENE 15: COL. OTIS, RUTH, HUTCHINSON
†COL. OTIS: My son, James Otis, Jr., has behaved so
† erratically in public as to endanger himself, his
† family, his friends, and all the citizens of America. It
† is because of this that I must, as his father, and in
† behalf of all who love him, and all who mourn the loss
† of the fine intellect once uniquely his -- I must
† request that he be declared non compos mentis, and
† further request that he be removed from Boston, by
† whatever means necessary, so he may be cared for in the
† country, where we hope he will be free of those personal
† and political pressures that have contributed to his
†RUTH OTIS: There's nothing else we can do.
†HUTCHINSON: Therefore, be it declared that on this day,
† December 3, 1771, James Otis, Jr., shall be bound hand
† and foot and removed from Boston.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: So Jemmy spent the war in exile in the
† country. I convinced him to organize his manuscripts.
† When the war was over, I would edit and publish them, a
† project that would require many volumes and would
† establish my brother's place in history.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: But after we'd won the war and the
† colonies struggled to piece together a new government,
† many of us wondered if Jemmy hadn't been right all along.
† Majority opinion was moving in the direction of replacing
† a King with an aristocratic President, of proposing a
† Constitution without including written guarantees of
† personal rights. Then what had we gone to war for? Often
† after the war, my husband and I debated this question
† with Jemmy.
SCENE 16: OTIS, WARREN, MERCY
†OTIS: Must we tear government down before we can repair
† its deficiencies?
†WARREN: England left us no choice.
†OTIS: England? Or ourselves?
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: England, I think.
†OTIS: Look at the government they want to give us now.
†WARREN: I know. We have a new generation to educate.
† Where was Jefferson in '61? Studying Latin -- and
† probably using Jemmy's textbook!
†OTIS: This new Constitution grants fewer liberties than
† the one you overthrew.
†WARREN: Some of us are demanding that a Bill of Rights be
† amended to it.
†OTIS: Our liberty was secure in the Constitution we
† already had. If only they'd granted us representation in
† Parliament ...
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: John Hancock declared a James Otis
† Day, to honor the man John Adams called "the First
† Patriot." It was a glorious celebration, but somehow it
† only depressed Jemmy further. He kept saying Hancock was
† carrying on like a High Tory, that the revolution had
† replaced one conservative aristocracy with another.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: Afterwards we all came home. A
† thunderstorm was approaching. Jemmy excused himself to
† take a walk. What happened next was beyond belief.
SCENE 17: WARREN, MERCY
†WARREN: Jemmy was standing in the doorway, after his
† walk, leaning on his cane and watching the storm. He was
† still depressed, thinking the war had been for naught.
† Suddenly there was a deafening crash of thunder, blinding
† lightning -- and Jemmy fell to the ground, dead.
† Apparently the lightning had hit the chimney, run along
† a rafter and down the doorpost, to where he was waiting
† for it.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: When God in anger saw the spot / On
† Earth to Otis given / In thunder as from Sinai's mount /
† He snatch'd him back to heaven.
†WARREN: Jemmy died as quickly as one blows out a flame.
†MERCY OTIS WARREN: A few days later I went to get his
† manuscripts, to continue editing them for publication. I
† couldn't find them. Finally I saw the remains of a page
† in the fireplace and, seeing the pile of ashes there,
† realized what had happened. In his depression, Jemmy had
† burned his life's work. Now there would be little
† historical record of the accomplishments of James Otis.
† His name would not be sung in the songs of victory. And
† history would all but forget him.
SONG 6 - THE QUARTET
"Jefferson and Liberty"
The gloomy night before us Dies,/ The reign of terror now is
o'er;/ Its gags, inquisitors, and spies,/ Its herds of
harpies are no more!
CHORUS: Rejoice, Columbia's sons, rejoice!/ To tyrants never
bend the knee,/ But join with heart, and soul, and voice,/
For Jefferson and liberty!
No lordling here, with gorging jaws/ Shall wring from
industry the food;/ Nor fiery bigot's holy laws/ Lay waste
our fields and streets in blood!
Here strangers from a thousand shores/ Compelled by tyranny
to roam,/ Shall find, amidst abundant stores,/ A nobler and
a happier home.
Here Art shall lift her laurelled head,/ Wealth, Iudustry,
and Peace, divine;/ And where dark, pathless forests spread,/
Rich fields and lofty cities shine.