of common-school education impracticable. 2. The same cause
The House soon prepared a paper to be sent to the British Ministry denouncing the administration of Governor Bernard and protesting against the further presence of a British Soldiery in Boston. On the 27th of June, 1769, the representatives went further and prepared a petition, praying for the removal of Bernard from the government. This they might well do for the king had already recalled him!
The Governor went away in such odor as the breezes of the Old Bay have hardly yet dissipated. He went away, but in the fall added his compliments to the Americans by the publication of sundry letters in which they were traduced and vilified. To this James Otis and Samuel Adams, were appointed a committee to reply. They did so in a pamphlet entitled "An Appeal to the World, or a Vindication of the Town of Boston," etc.
It was in these tumultuous and honorable labors and excitements extending over a period of fully ten years that the intellect of James Otis became overstrained and, at length, warped from its purpose.
We may regard his rational career as ending with the year 1769. In September of this year it was noticed that he had become excitable, and that his natural eccentricity was accented at times to the extent of rendering his conduct irrational.
It was at this time that he published in the Boston "Gazette" what he called an advertisement, in which he placarded the four commissioners of customs, on the ground that they had assailed his character, declaring that they had formed a confederacy of villainy, and warning the officers of the crown to pay no attention to them.
On the evening of the following day, Mr. Otis went into a coffee-house where John Robinson, one of the commissioners whom he had lampooned, was sitting. On entering the room, Mr. Otis was attacked by Robinson who struck him with his cane. Otis struck back. There was a battle. Those who were present were Robinson's friends. The fight became a melee.
A young man named Gridley undertook to assist Otis, but was himself overpowered and pitched out of the house. Mr. Otis was seriously wounded in the head, and was taken to his house, bleeding and exhausted. The principle wound appeared to be inflicted with a sword; it was in the nature of a cut, and an empty scabbard was found on the floor of the room in which the altercation occurred.
On the morrow, Boston was aflame with excitement. Otis was seriously injured; in fact he never recovered from the effects of the assault. He brought suit against Robinson, and a jury gave a judgment of two thousand pounds damages against the defendant. The latter arose in court with a writing of open confession and apology, and hereupon the spirited and generous Otis refused to avail himself of the verdict.