other powers in the British
empire were subordinate,
was the duty and the interest of the colonies; that this supreme legislature, the parliament of Great Britain, was happily the sanctuary of liberty and justice; and that the prince who presided over it realized the idea of a patriot king.’
Contrary to usage, the house made no reply; but on the sixth of June, James Otis
, in single-minded wisdom, advised the calling of an American Congress, which should come together without asking the consent of the king, and should consist of committees from each of the thirteen colonies, to be appointed respectively by the delegates of the people, without regard to the other branches of the legislature.
Such an assembly had never existed; and the purpose of deliberating upon the acts of parliament was equally novel.
The tories sneered2
at the proposal, as visionary and impracticable; Grenville
himself had circulated through the colonies the opinion that ‘from jealousy of neighborhood and clashing interests, they could never form a dangerous alliance among themselves, but must permanently preserve entire their common connection with the mother country.’
But heedless alike of the derision of those about them, and of the prophecy of the minister, the representatives of Massachusetts
shared the creative instinct of Otis
Avoiding every expression of a final judgment, and insuring unanimity by even refusing3
to consider the question of their exclusive right to originate measures