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which he had so well earned by his previous assiduity, and was considered in a short time as at the head of the Massachusetts bar. This high station procured him of course an extensive, and for those times a lucrative business. He was once called to Halifax, in the middle of the winter, to defend three men accused of piracy, and for his successful exertions in this case, received a fee, said to be larger than any ever given to an inhabitant of this province. During all these laborious and responsible avocations, his fondness for general literature, and more especially for the ancient classics, never deserted him. In 1760, the very year before he made his speech on the Writs of Assistance, he published his Rudiments of Latin Prosody, a book mentioned with high respect, by many accomplished scholars of later days. He also composed during his life a similar work on the prosody of the Greek language, which remained unpublished for want of types, and finally perished with the greater part of his manuscripts. We would dwell for a moment on these circumstances, as they furnish no trivial answer to a common, and with many of our fellow-citizens a weighty objection, against the study of ancient literature. It has often been maintained, (for what novelty has not found its patrons in this time of indiscriminate innovation?) that a great proficiency in classical learning, and more especially in its technical niceties, is an acquisition to be gained only at an expense of time and thought, utterly inconsistent with that practical usefulness, to which men in this country are so generally impelled by their circumstances, as well as by their duty. How was it then, that James Otis, with an education in no way superior to that now enjoyed by many of our youth, depending for subsistence on his own exertions, closely occupied in the practice of a laborious profession, unsurpassed, if equalled, by any of his contemporaries in legal acquirements; living not in studious retirement, but, in the strongest sense of the terms, in and for society, how was it that he, under all these circumstances, was yet enabled to acquire and display an extensive and minute knowledge of classical learning, which would do honor to a scholar of any age or country.
Immediately after his speech on the Writs of Assistance, Mr Otis was chosen almost unanimously by the citizens of Boston a member of the General Court, and was continually reelected till the year 1770, when he retired with the thanks of his
constituents for his previous services, and was chosen again for the last time in 1771. During his continuance in the legislature, he was appointed upon most of the committees, which reported the resolves and answers of the House of Representatives, so celebrated, under the name of the Massachusetts State Papers, and was, in fact, the chief author of the ablest of those documents. His principal coadjutor in these labors was Samuel Adams, who qualified, corrected, and polished the rough but energetic effusions of his friend's impetuous genius, and brought them to that highly finished state, in which they were given to the public. To recount the services of Otis during his public life, would be, as we have observed, to relate the whole history of that period. In the legislature, as at the bar, he held the highest station, and was considered by the English ministry, as the great arch-fiend of the rebellious spirits of Massachusetts. It ought also to be distinctly remem-. bered, that on the third day of June 1776, he brought forward a proposition, and was afterwards made chairman of a committee to carry it into effect, for opening a gallery for such as wished to hear the debates, and was consequently the earliest in this country to suggest the propriety of public legislative proceedings; the first author of a measure, which, by disclosing to the people the reasonings as well as the decisions of their representatives, obliges the legislature to act with much of the deliberation of a judicial tribunal, and is universally considered one of the main supports of every free government.
During his performance of those high trusts, which the exigences of the times had thrown upon him, and for which he was so well fitted by his abilities, his learning, and his devotion to liberty, Otis displayed in most cases a command over his own spirit, which, to those who consider his peculiar temperament, will appear a glorious triumph of principle over feeling. His reigning infirmity, his master passion, was a blind impetuosity; yet we find him continually exerting the most unwearied and successful watchfulness, in regulating the movements of his fellow-citizens, and in restraining them from those excesses, which might mar the justice and honor of their cause. This self-control was at length overthrown, and the consequences, which followed, led to his final retirement from public duty.
He learned from copies of letters transmitted to him from
England, that the crown officers in Massachusetts had used every exertion to persuade the ministry to arrest him for high treason, and try him in the mother country. Provoked beyond all endurance by this discovery, he denounced by name the officers of the customs then residing in Boston, in a short advertisement, written in the most bitter and contemptuous terms, which his unrestrained indignation could supply. This piece was published September 4, 1769. On the following evening, about seven o'clock, he went to the British Coffee House in state street, where Mr Robinson, one of those whom he had denounced, was sitting with a number of army, navy, and revenue officers. Robinson, after a short altercation, attempted to chastise him, and struck him with a cane. A serious affray followed, the lights were extinguished, and Otis was obliged to combat single-handed against Robinson and several British officers. In the course of the contest he received many severe wounds, one of considerable depth in his head, and after the parties had been separated, was led home bleeding. Shortly afterwards he appealed for redress to the law of his country, and received two thousand pounds in damages from Robinson, which he released in court, upon receiving an humble apology.
From this time forth, he was subject to frequent intervals of loss of intellect; but whether these were occasioned solely by his wounds is questioned, and with much apparent reason, by his biographer. His mind was, in fact, of that highly susceptible and enthusiastic complexion, which frequently indicates a constitutional tendency to insanity.
In 1772, he retired not only from public, but from professional life, for though his lucid intervals were frequent, and his mind then resumed all its original brightness, yet the uncertain continuance of them necessarily prevented the intrusting of any business to his care. The most important of his actions, in his diseased moments, was the complete destruction of his papers, a business which occupied him two whole days. In 1781, he left Boston for Andover, where he resided with Mr Osgood, a respectable farmer, yet living. After the lapse of two years, his mind, in the opinion of all his friends, as well as in his own, had regained its former tone, and he returned to Boston in November 1782, with the purpose of resuming his legal practice. During this visit, he made a memorandum, yet preserved, in which he returns thanks to heaven, that he was restored
Six weeks afterwards, 1783, while standing, of one of the rooms, struck by a flash of
to the greatest of all blessings, a sound mind in a sound body.' This pleasing supposition was soon overthrown. So incomplete was his recovery, that the slightest physical or mental excitement again unsettled his reason, and in the spring of 1783, he returned to his residence in Andover. on the afternoon of Friday, May 23, during a thunder shower, near the door and conversing with the family, he was lightning, and instantly fell dead in Mr Osgood's arms. remains were brought to Boston, and buried with due honors. Mr Otis was married, in 1755, to Miss Ruth Cunningham of Boston, and had three children. Of his lineal descendants, only two great grand children are now living.
ART. XXII.-The Loves of the Angels; a poem. By Thomas Moore. New York and Philadelphia, reprinted, 1823. MR MOORE's talents are unquestionably peculiar, both as to their extent and their character. He has given to English literature a poetry equally delightful and original; and in some of the lesser and lower requisites of poetry-in exquisite melody of language and sparkling elegance of imagery-no one has approached him. He is the great song writer of this day; and ages have passed, since a poet lived, who could compress within the compass of a short and simple melody the graceful tenderness, the spirit and the system, that place Moore's songs upon the pianos and in the mouths of all the singing men and women in his own land or in ours.* And this is not all; he is almost as powerful in satire as in song. In some of his political pieces, there are, mingled with much nonsense and weakness, sarcasms of intense severity, which prove his power to be almost equal to his malice. But he has tried a yet higher flight, than either song or satire; in Lalla Rookh he failed somewhat, because he could not make long poems as much better than any one else, as he could songs, but no reader of poetry could begin any one of the tales in that book, and leave it unfinished, and no one could read many pages there, and not feel the burning thoughts and words, which came from no lips untouched with fire.
* Mr Campbell's patriotic songs are too sublime to enter into this comparison, and belong to the highest order of lyric poetry.
So much praise we willingly concede to him ;-and it is lamentable, that powers so admirable should be associated with qualities, which merit the severest reprehension, and must excite disgust. We do not speak too strongly. Mr Moore bears about with him the burthen of depraved, licentious tastes, and his genius is cramped and polluted by their foulness. He seems almost to know this himself, for it is not difficult to trace in his writings the effort to be pure, struggling with the habit of being gross; the strife of endeavor and resolution in conflict with this determined depravity. It is no little praise to say, that he really seems to have striven and fought in earnest, and the success, which must result from such endeavors, has already rewarded him in a degree commensurate with the reality and earnestness of his exertions.
Moore has constantly grown better as a poet, and—so far as his poetry is a test-as a man, since he first came before the public. It is not many years since it was a rude and indecorous thing to speak to a lady of Anacreon Moore; and an expurgated edition of his four volumes, original and translated, would have made so very thin a book, it was not thought worth the publication. From this abyss he emerged, and made many good songs, which might be read or sung by any one. His Sacred Songs were next published, most of which are quite unexceptionable. After this course of preparation, he made his great attempt, and wrote Lalla Rookh, in which there is absolutely nothing, that should keep it out of a decent parlor. At present he has taken one step farther, and published the Loves of the Angels. We were almost about to say, that this was a retrograde step, but it would be perhaps rather more just to say, that he is but where he was, and the rooted vulgarity of his tastes and the sensual tendency of his imagination are made more distinctly visible by his staining such a subject with their pollution; he has chosen to unite the holiest of created existences with the holiest of passions, to make himself a theme; and we feel, that it was a profanation to approach his work with gross impurity clinging to him.
We would not, however, be understood to charge Mr Moore with hypocrisy in treating religious matters with occasional demonstrations of reverence. We verily believe, that he has much regard, of a certain sort, to religion; and that he makes 'Sacred Songs,' and breathes an aspiration after heavenly