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ceived had impaired his reason, and in a measure deprived the public of his services. Temporary derangement affected him afterwards until his death. The assault was committed on him the 5th of September, 1769. Only in his forty sixth year, in the midst of his usefulness, in the full enjoyment of the respect and admiration of his fellow citizens, and in a time too of greatest political excitement, it is cause of wonder the people did not proceed to acts of open violence.
An action was instituted against Robinson by Otis for this assault, and damages awarded by the Jury to the amount of two thousand pounds sterling. On acknowledgement of his error, however, Otis magnanimously forgave him and discharged the debt.
Mr. Otis was not a member of the Legislature after 1771. While he was a member he was regarded as the most influential of it, and his services were thought the most efficient. Whatever business he engaged in he devoted his whole soul to it. He spoke with vehemence, and in the choice of his language he was elegant, and in his allusious, classical. No man had the power of addressing a popular assembly with more effect. As an orator he was eloquent in an eminent degree; as a lawyer he was at the head of his profession; as a statesman and civilian he had no equal in America; he was a most ardent patriot.
The following amusing anecdote is related by the venerable ex-president, John Adams.
“Otis belonged to a club who met on evenings; of which club William Molineux, whose character you know very well, 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, &c. and said ;--56 That a man who has behaved as I have, should be treated as I am, is intolerable !" &c. 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 eujoy ourselves: I also have a list of grievances; will you hear it?” The club expected some fun, and all cried out, "aye ! aye! let us hear your list.”
" Well then, Will : in the first place, I resigned the office of Advocate General, which I held from the crown, that produced me how much do you think?"" " A great deal, no doubt,” said Molineux. 6 Shall we say two hundred sterling a year ?” “Aye, 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 200 more ??? 6 Oh! I believe it much more than that." Well, let it be 200; this for ten years, is 2000. You allow, then, I have lost £4000 sterling.” “ Aye, and much more too," said Molineux.
" In the next place, I have lost an hundred friends ; among whom, were the men of the first rank, fortune, and power in the province: at what price will you estimate them ?” “ D-n them," said Molineux, “at nothing : you are better without them, than with them.” A loud laugh. “ Be it so," said Otis.
" In the next place, I have made a thousand enemies; among whom are the government of the province and the nation. What do you think of this item ?” “ That is as it may happen,” said Molineux.
- In the next place you know I love pleasure : but I have renounced all amusement for ten years.
What is that worth to a man of pleasure ?” “ No great matter," said Molineux, “you have made politics your amusement.” A hearty laugh.
“In the next place, I have ruined as fine health, and as good a constitution of body, as nature ever gave to man." « This is mel. ancholy indeed,” said Molineux, “there is nothing to be said on that point."
“Once more," said Otis, holding his head down before Molineux, 16 look
upon this head!” (where was a scar in which a man might bury his finger) “ what do you think of this ?" and what is worse, my friends think I have a monstrous crack in my skull."
This made all the company very grave, and look very solemn. But Otis setting up a laugh, and with a gay countenance, said to Molineux; “now, Willy, my advice to you is, to say no more about your grievances; for you and I had better put up our accounts of profit and loss in our pockets, and say no more about them, lest the world should laugh at us."
“ This whimsical dialogue put all the company, and Molineux himself, into good humor, and they passed the rest of the evening in joyous conviviality.”
“The last years of his life he spent in the south parish in Andover, with a gentleman by the name of Osgood. At one time his friends thought he had recovered from his insanity. He engaged very little in public life, and withdrew almost entirely from the business of his profession. He managed a few cases in court, and
was heard with interest, but it was observed he appeared but a majestic ruin. Whenever he visited Boston, the greatest attention was paid him by Hancock, Cusbing, Adams, and others, with whom he had been associated in opposition to the British ministry. Notwithstanding the impaired state of his mind, his society was sought with avidity, and his public services remembered with gratitude. In his lucid moments, occasional marks of the former powerful mind appeared, but its stately grandeur had been defaced, and it now lay in ruins. He had often times intimated a wish that he might die by lightning. In a letter to Mrs. Warren, his sister, of Plymouth, he says, “my dear sister, I hope when God Almighty in his righteous providence shall take me out of time into eternity, that it will be by a flash of lightning." It is a singular coincidence, that his fate corresponded with his wishes. On the afterpoon of Friday, May 23d, 1783, a black cloud came up, and as he was standing near the door relating a story to the assembled farnily, a bolt, which seemed to shake the solid earth, descended and struck him instantaneously dead.
“ There is a degree of consolation,” says Mr. Tudor in his excellent biography of Otis, “ blended with awe in the manner of his death, and a soothing fitness in the sublime accident which occasioned it. The end of his life was ennobled, when the ruins of a great mind, instead of being undermined by loathsome and obscure disease, were demolished at once by a bright bolt froin Heaven."
As a scholar, Mr. Otis was among the most distinguished in the province. His mind was richly stored with the beauties afforded by a classical education. Soon after entering on the practice of the law, he devoted his leisure to writing a treatise on the Rudiments of Latin Prosody. This work was published in 1760. He composed a similar work on Greek Prosody, which remaining in manuscript, was lost with many of his other papers. The principal works published of his, are; Vindication of the conduct of the house of Representatives of Massachusetts, 1762 ; Rights of the British colonies, asserted 1764 ; considerations in behalf of the colonists, 1765.
ROGER SHERMAN, Who was alike distinguished as a profound statesman and juristy was born at Newton, Mass. on the 19th of April, 1721. His parents were obscure but worthy citizens, and he had no better education than the slender and limited provisions of a common free school, furnished at that early period. At a suitable age he was apprentic, ed to a Shoemaker, having chosen that trade as the business of his life, and continued to labor in this occupation until after he was twenty two. He however had a strong and ardent thirst after knowledge, and employed every moment which could be spared from his other avocation in the acquisition of knowledge. It is even said that while laboring he constantly kept a book by him. In 1743, having lost his father, he with his mother removed to New Milford, in the then colony of Connecticut. Here he was associated with his brother in mercantile business, which gave him a better opportunity to gratify his taste for intellectual improvement; for it appears he made such advances in the severer studies of matbematics, that in 1745, he was appointed surveyor of the county of Litchfield, and gained some celebrity in making the necessary calculations for an almanac. These facts would be hardly worth mentioning, except as they show how a powerful mind developed itself unaided by instruction. His clear and comprehensive views of subjects seemed to recommend him to some pursuit in life which would give a more extended field for intellectual exertion, and his friends urged him to embrace the profession of law. He accordingly commenced the study, and, in 1754, was admitted an attorney and counsellor. In 1755 he was chosen to represent New Milford in the colonial assembly, and was elected several years in succession. He soon attained to eminence in his profession, aod in 1759, was elevated to the bench of the Common Pleas for Litchfield. In 1761, he left that county and removed to New Haven, where he was soon elected a representative, and in 1765 was raised to the bench of Common Pleas for the county of New Haven. In 1766, he was chosen by the people of Connecticut an assistant, and in the same year was inade a Judge of the Supreme Court. He continued to be returned at every successive election an assistant for seventeen years, and remained on the bench of the Supreme Court until 1789, when he resigned his seat. In 1774 he was elected a member of the first Congress, and was continued either a member of the house or senate until his death, in 1793. His name is among those who subscribed the declaration of Independence. Such is a mere out
lige of the public services of one of the fathers of this country. . To do justice to a name so conspicuous, to point out in detail the able and faithful manner in which he performed the various and burdensome public duties which devolved upon him, would require a biographical notice that would swell into a volume, and few men deserve a volume more, or would fill it better. He was a man of plain unostentatious manners, but firm and unwavering in his opinions. He discharged the daties of the various offices which he held, to the great satisfaction of the public, and with great honor to himself. His judgment was clear, and so remarkably correct that his colleagues in Congress have said he never in all the perplexities of that body cast a wrong vote. He was more distinguished for his accurate, comprehensive views of subjects, than for his eloquence; hence he was much employed on committees in the investigation of the most complex and difficult matters, and his opinions were always received with great deference and respect of the high estimation in which he was held there needs no other proof than the fact that he was elevated hy the people of Connecticut to almost every office within their gift. Of the fidelity and ability with which he discharged bis public duties, there needs no better proof tban his re-election to all offices he would consent to take, as long as he would accept them.
On the whole, Roger Sherman was no common man, but ed to be fitted to the times in which he lived. He was no demagogue, but a friend to the rights of man, and an enemy to the usurpation of political power. He stood forth in times of great peril the advocate of his distressed country, and to him and others who had minds that could not be appaled by disaster nor intimidated by threats, must we attribute the blessings we enjoy as a free and independent nation. In 1793, he died at New Haven, and a monument is erected to his memory in the principal burying place of
This very singular man was born in the town of Bolton, in this State, and was actually engaged in the naval service of his country in the revolution ;-was a prisoner some considerable time at Halifax, bụt finally liberated, and in a second cruise, obtained prize money enough to educate himself at the University of Harvard, for which he had a great desire; he was classmate with the Hon.