In fact, between the free labor of the North and the slave
In connection with Otis's charge against Hutchinson as to rapacious office-seeking the following extract from John Adams's diary is of curious interest. After detailing certain detractions of which he had been the victim, the diarist breaks out testily: "This is the rant of Mr. Otis concerning me. * * * But be it known to Mr. Otis I have been in the public cause as long as he, though I was never in the General Court but one year.
I have sacrificed as much to it as he. I have never got my father chosen Speaker and Counselor by it; my brother-in-law chosen into the House and chosen Speaker by it; nor a brother-in-law's brother-in-law into the House and Council by it; nor did I ever turn about in the House, and rant it on the side of the prerogative for a whole year, to get a father into a Probate office first Justice of a Court of Common Pleas, and a brother into a clerk's office. There is a complication of malice, envy, and jealousy in this man, in the present disordered state of his mind, which is quite shocking." (Oct. 27, 1772.)
In this incapacity of Otis, who at last had to seek confinement, Samuel Adams came to the front of the opposition to Hutchinson as representing the government policy, and in nothing did he show more adroitness than in the manner in which he humored and exploited the colleague, whom, though sick, the people would not suffer to be withdrawn, as is shown by the following resolution:
RESOLUTION ADOPTED AT A TOWN MEETING IN BOSTON, MAY 8, 1770.
"The Honorable James Otis having, by advice of his physician, retired into the country for the recovery of his health; Voted, That thanks of the town be given to the Honorable James Otis for the great and important services, which, as a representative in the General Assembly through a course of years, he has rendered to this town and province, particularly for his undaunted exertions in the common cause of the Colonies, from the beginning of the present glorious struggle for the rights of the British consituation. At the same time, the town cannot but express their ardent wishes for the recovery of his health, and the continuance of those public services, that must long be remembered with gratitude, and distinguish his name among the patriots of America."
During short periods of sanity, or of only partial aberration, Otis's wit and humor, rendered more quaint and striking by the peculiarities of his mental condition, made him the delight of a small circle of friends. The following anecdote, admirably told by President Adams, presents in a very graphic manner the peculiarities of his character:
"Otis belonged to a club, who met on evenings; of which club William Molineux 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, etc., and said, 'That a man who has behaved as I have, should be treated as I am, is intolerable,' etc. Otis 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; I also have a list of grievances; will you hear it?' The club expected some fun, and all cried out, 'Ay! ay! let us hear your list.'
"'Well, then, Will; in the first place, I resigned the office of the 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?' 'Ay, more I believe,' said Molineux. 'Well, let it be two hundred; that for ten years, is two thousand. In the next place, I have been obliged to relinquish the greatest part of my business at the bar. Will you set that at two hundred more?' 'O, I believe it much more than that.' 'Well, let it be two hundred; this, for ten years, is two thousand. You allow, then, I have lost four thousand pounds sterling?' 'Ay, and much more, too,' said Molineux.