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[376] he resolved to exert the utmost of his abilities in the
chap. XX.} 1765. Dec.
cause. It fell to him, on the evening of the twentieth, to begin the argument before the governor and council. ‘The Stamp Act,’ he reasoned, ‘is invalid; it is not in any sense our act; we never consented to it. A parliament in which we are not represented, had no legal authority to impose it; and, therefore, it ought to be waived by the judges as against natural equity and the constitution.’ Otis reasoned with great learning and zeal on the duties and obligations of judges. Gridley dwelt on the inconveniences that would ensue on the interruption of justice.

‘Many of the arguments,’ said Bernard, in reply, ‘are very good ones to be used before the judges, but there is no precedent for the interference of the governor and council. In England the judges would scorn directions from the king on points of law.’

On Saturday, the town voted the answer unsatisfactory. Ever fertile in resources, Otis instantly proposed to invite the governor to call a convention of the members of both houses of the legislature; if the governor should refuse, then to call one themselves, by requesting all the members to meet; and John Adams came round to this opinion.

‘The king,’ thus the young lawyer reasoned, on returning to his own fireside, ‘the king is the fountain of justice. Protection and allegiance are reciprocal. If we are out of the king's protection, we are discharged from our allegiance. The ligaments of government are dissolved, the throne abdicated.’ Otis, quoting Grotius and the English lawyers, of 1688, assured the public, that ‘If a king lets the affairs of a state run into disorder and confusion, his conduct is a real abdication;’ that unless business should proceed as

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