Attorney James Otis was a firebrand that spoke for the inhabitants of Boston, while intending to defend British liberties during the American Revolution. There in the superior court chamber, perhaps for the first time, at least in Boston, citizens heard principles proclaimed that were to be revolutionary in their consequences. Samuel Adams and his fellow townsmen nodded in agreement as Otis described the writs as the “worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive to English liberty, and the fundamental principles of the constitution. ” Otis charged that the writs were “the zenith of arbitrary power” and admonished the court to “demolish this monster of oppression, and tear into rags this remnant of Star Chamber Tyranny. ” He announced that it did not matter if Parliament had enacted the writs, because they ran “against the fundamental principles of law. ” By saying that, Otis was seemingly referring to some greater and higher power than the British king and Parliament.
Otis’s performance made him a hero among Bostonians. More than a half century later, and with a certain degree of embellishment, Adams the lawyer restaged the tableau:
Near the fire were seated five judges, with Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson at their head as chief justice, all in their new fresh robes of scarlet English cloth, in their broad bands, and immense judicial wigs [and against them James Otis] a flame of fire! With the promptitude of classical allusions, a depth of research, 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. Every man of an [immense] crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take up arms against writs of assistance. Then and there the child independence was born.
Indeed, some things are not taught but rather caught through association. It seems Samuel Adams, the father of the American Revolution, both got taught something that day [in regard to formulating a legal argument] and caught the fiery spirit of James Otis. The fighting spirit of Otis lived on and came to fruition over fifty years later through Samuel Adams. Yet the foundational argument appealing to a higher power was established. It would later be used during the American Revolution, the basis for which the patriots would cry: “No king, but King Jesus!”
The above excerpt has been taken from Paul Davis’ book “Holy Ghost Fire or Hellfire? The inescapable choice. " Other books by this author include “Breakthrough for a Broken Heart, " “Stop Lusting & Start Living, " and the forthcoming “God vs. Religion. "
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