The characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent and influential in this revival, from 1760 to 1766, were, first and foremost, before all and above all, James Otis; next to him was Oxenbridge Thacher; next to him, Samuel Adams; next to him, John Hancock; then Dr. Mayhew; then Dr. Cooper and his brother.
Another gentleman, who had great influence in the commencement of the Revolution, was Doctor Jonathan Mayhew, a descendant of the ancient governor of Martha's Vineyard.
This divine had raised a great reputation both in Europe and America, by the publication of a volume of seven sermons in the reign of King George the Second, 1749, and by many other writings, particularly a sermon in 1750, on the 30th of January, on the subject of passive obedience and non-resistance, in which the saintship and martyrdom of King Charles the First are considered, seasoned with wit and satire superior to any in Swift or Franklin.
It was read by everybody; celebrated by friends, and abused by enemies.
During the reigns of King George the First and King George the Second, the reigns of the Stuarts, the two Jameses and the two Charleses were in general disgrace in England.
In America they had always been held in abhorrence.
The persecutions and cruelties suffered by their ancestors under those reigns, had been transmitted by history and tradition, and Mayhew
seemed to be raised up to revive all their animosities against tyranny, in church and state, and at the same time to destroy their bigotry, fanaticism, and inconsistency.
To draw the character of Mayhew
, would be to transcribe a dozen volumes.
This transcendent genius threw all the weight of his
great fame into the scale of his
country in 1761, and maintained it there with zeal and ardor till his
death, in 1766.