Otis, James, an American statesman and orator, was born at West Barnstable, Mass., Feb. 5, 1725. He studied at Harvard and at Boston, was admitted to the bar at Plymouth in 1748, and moved to Boston in 1750. In 1760, when advocate-general, the revenue officers asked his aid in obtaining search warrants from the superior courts by which they could enter any man's house in search of smuggled goods. Otis considered this illegal and refused, resigning his position and appearing on hbehalf of the people. His speech on the subject lasted five hours, and made a great impression, John Adams saying of it afterwards: “The child Independence was then and there born.” He was elected to the assembly, and was a delegate to the Stamp Act congress, which met in New York the same year; and a member of a committee of that body to prepare an address to the English house of commons. While in the Massachusetts legislature, the governor requested that a letter on relief from taxation, sent to the other colonies, be taken back by the legislature. Otis opposed the governor's requisition in a speech called by his opponents “the most treasonable declaration ever uttered,” and carried the house 92 to 17. He was severely beaten by some revenue officers in Boston in 1769, and lost his reason as a consequence of a sword cut on his head. He published several political pamphlets, The Rights of the Colonies Asserted being the best known. He was killed by lightning on May 23, 1783, while standing at the door of his home at Andover, Mass. See Life by Tudor.