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[118] were ready to break out into a flame; there were
Chap. XXXI.} 1768. Jan.
men among them who would not count the consequences.1 Of the country Members, Hawley, than whom no one was abler, or more sincere, lived far in the interior; and his excitable nature, now vehement, now desponding, unfitted him to guide. The irritability of Otis had so increased, that he rather indulged himself in ‘rhapsodies’2 and volcanic ‘flashes’3 of eloquence, than framed deliberate plans of conduct. Besides, his mind had early embraced the idea ‘of a general union of the British Empire, in which every part of its wide dominions should be represented under one equal and uniform direction, and system of laws;’ and though the Congress of New-York drew from him a tardy concession,4 that an American representation was impossible, yet his heart still turned to his original opinion, and in his prevailing mood, he shrunk from the thought of Independence. The ruling passion of Samuel Adams, on the contrary, was the preservation of the distinctive character and institutions of New-England. He thoroughly

1 Andrew Eliot to T. Hollis, 5 Jan. 1768; and compare Thomas Hollis to A. Eliot, 1 July, 1768.

2 The word is Bernard's; compare Bernard to Secretary of State, 5 March, 1768.

3 Letter of Hutchinson, of 17 Feb. 1768.

4 The curious inquirer may find this paper in which Otis reconciled himself to the position adopted alike by the Legislature of Massachusetts and the General Congress at New-York against an American representation in Parliament, in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, No. 561, page II. column 1, of Monday, December 30, 1765. The idea of ‘a general union of all parts of the British Empire under an equal and uniform direction, and system of laws,’ seems to me to have been always dear to him. His mind gave way before he came to the conclusion, to which he might have been led, on becoming convinced that such a union was impossible. In 1768 it still had many advocates in England and in America, Otis among the number.

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