Following the hated Stamp Act of 1765, the British committed the Boston Massacre in 1770, firing into a crowd, killing five.
In 1773, James Warren proposed that Samuel Adams form Committees of Correspondence to inform the rest of the nation of injustices being committed in Boston: “… the rights of the colonists, and of this province in particular, as men, as Christians, and as subjects; to communicate and publish the same to the several towns in this province and to the world as the sense of this town.”
The British increased taxes and in response colonists had the Boston Tea Party, Dec. 16, 1773. In 1774, the British retaliated by blocking Boston Harbor to starve the city into submission. In 1775, when president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, Dr. Joseph Warren, was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill, James Warren, who also fought there, was elected the next president.
As president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, James Warren approved the resolution, June 16, 1775: “It has pleased Almighty God in his Providence to suffer the Calamities of an unnatural War to take Place among us. … And as we have Reason to fear, that unless we become a penitent and reformed People, we shall feel still severer Tokens of his Displeasure. And as the most effectual Way to escape those desolating Judgments, which so evidently hang over us … will be – That we repent and return everyone from his Iniquities, unto him that correcteth us. … Among the prevailing Sins of this Day, which threaten the Destruction of this Land, we have Reason tolament the frequent Prophanation of the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath. … It is therefore resolved … by this Congress … the people … throughout this Colony … pay a religious Regard to that Day, and to the public Worship of God thereon.”
James Warren, who died Nov. 28, 1808, was husband of author Mercy Otis Warren, called “the conscience of the Revolution” for her correspondence with many founding fathers.
James and Mercy Warren were Anti-Federalists, along with Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, Robert Yates, James Monroe, George Clinton, Melancton Smith, Arthur Fenner, James Winthrop and Luther Martin.
Anti-Federalists opposed the new U.S. Constitution as they did not think there were enough limits on the federal government to prevent it from usurping power and becoming a totalitarian dictatorship. Anti-Federalist pressure is responsible for addition of the Bill of Rights.
James Warren submitted essays to the local newspaper under the name “Helvitius Priscus,” which was the name of a Roman republican who resisted the dictator Nero.
On Dec. 27, 1787, the Independent Chronicle published an article by “Helvitius Priscus” in which James Warren criticized the Constitutional Convention: “… that assembly, who have ambitiously and daringly presumed to annihilate the sovereignties of the thirteen United States; to establish a Draconian Code; and to bind posterity by their secret councils. …”
James Warren referred to the Lycian League, a thriving confederation of independent Greek city-states which existed from the eighth century B.C. until conquered by Phillip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, in 338 B.C.: “Everyone acquainted with ancient history … turn their thoughts to the miserable fate of the Lycians … a sober, virtuous people, who maintained their independence, and their freedom, for several centuries; and supported their own simple institutions, under twenty-three district sovereignties. … A people bearing a strong resemblance to a party in America had crept in among them, and … an ambitious Phillip had his emissaries in that body, who by political intrigue, and well-timed plausible speeches, enabled him … to set himself at the head of the Grecian States; to annihilate their constitutions, and to degrade them to the most abject submission to the will of a despotic tyrant. … The tyrant alleged the same excuse for his encroachment, that we hear hacknied in the streets of our capitals, for subjugating the Americans…”
James Warren added: “The application … is left for the consideration of every lover of his country. America has fought for her liberties … purchased them by the most costly sacrifices. … And shall … her freedom be sported away by the duplicity, and the intrigues of those, who never participated in her sufferings? … mad ambition of a mind ready to sacrifice … humanity for its gratification? Forbid it Heaven! …”
James Warren warned further: “Let the youth of America … instead of indulging a rapturous admiration for the modern superficial speechifyers in favor of an American monarchy, let them examine the principles of the late glorious revolution. … and before they embrace the chains of servitude, let them scrutinize … if their pride … will suffer them to lick the hand of a despotic master. … Let him be stigmatized with the odium … the base betrayer of the rights of his country … though he may artfully have obtained an election. …”
James Warren concluded: “Let the old Patriots come forward, and instead of secretly wrapping up their opinions within their own breasts, let them lift up the voice like a trumpet, and show this people their folly and … impending danger.”
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