18th century American colonial lawyer
James Otis

James Otis Jr. (5 February 1725 – 23 May 1783) was a lawyer in colonial Massachusetts, a member of the Massachusetts provincial assembly, and an early advocate of the Patriot views against British policy that led to the American Revolution. His catchphrase "Taxation without representation is tyranny" became the basic Patriot position.

Web Pages

James Otis - Online Library of Liberty
Includes portrait, short biography and links to various of Otis's works and link to a selected quotation
"James Otis (1725–83) was a lawyer in Massachusetts and a member of the Massachusetts Legislature. In the mid-1760s he wrote a number of important pamphlets in favor of American independence and is said to have coined the revolutionary phrase 'no taxation without representation'. He resigned his position as advocate general of the Vice Admiralty Court to protest the issuance of writs of assistance by the Massachusetts superior court and was an early supporter of the Stamp Act Congress. He is supposed to have suffered a blow to the head by a customs official in 1769 which led to his going insane."


American Political Writing, 1760-1789, by William MacDonald, The Cambridge History of American Literature, 1917
Book I, Chapter VIII
"Otis challenged the writs as 'the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law-book.' ... lacking the exact specification of place and circumstance which a search-warrant ought to contain, such a writ was on both accounts illegal."
James Otis - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
John Adams, by John Fiske, The Presidents of the United States, 1789-1914
"When James Otis in 1761 delivered his memorable argument against writs of assistance, John Adams was present in the court-room ... In his old age [he] wrote, with reference to this scene, '... Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born.'"
The Bill of Rights: Searches and Seizures, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Oct 2004
"One of the most famous and eloquent denunciations of writs of assistance was issued by colonist James Otis ... in 1761 ... It was that type of fury against writs of assistance that helped fuel the Revolution, the conflict in which British citizens living in the New World took up arms against their own government."


James Otis, The Pre-Revolutionist, by John Clark Ridpath, 1898
Etext available at Project Gutenberg

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "James Otis Jr." as of 09 Apr 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.