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Mercy Otis Warren, Conscience of the American Revolution

I have input all these works (the history of the American Revolution and the plays) by hand. (The old type, with "s" that looks like "f" and other peculiarities characteristic of the time, makes this text impossible to scan). I have modernized the spelling and punctuation and made other edits for readability. Please let me know of typos, so I can fix them promptly, and also about the location/availability of other works Mercy Warren. Richard Seltzer 

This edition Copyright 2002 Richard Seltzer. Permission is granted to make and distribute complete verbatim electronic copies of this item for non-commercial purposes provided the copyright information and this permission notice are preserved on all copies. All other rights reserved. Please contact us first if you are interested in making copies for commercial purposes,  

Portrait of Mercy Warren (by Copley) -- closeup of face, full figure


Observations on the new Constitution, and on the Federal and State Conventions, 1788. Pamphlet against the Constitution, formerly attributed to Elbridge Gerry, now acknowledged as written by Mercy Otis Warren

Chronology of Mercy Otis Warren 1728 - 1814 by King Dykeman, Philosophy Department, Fairfield University

Introduction to the work of Mercy Otis Warren 1728 - 1814 by King Dykeman, Philosophy Department, Fairfield University

Introduction to Observations on the New Constitution by Mercy Otis Warren by King Dykeman, Philosophy Department, Fairfield University

The Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution

Biography of Mercy's brother: James Otis the Pre-Revolutionist by John Ridpath
The Death of the Federalist Party by Richard Seltzer

Mercy Warren's entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1911:

"Warren, Mercy (1728-1814), American writer, sister of James Otis, was born at Barnstable, Mass., and in 1754 married James Warren (1726-1808) of Plymouth, Mass., a college friend of her brother. Her literary inclinations were fostered by both these men, and she began early to write poems and prose essays. As member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1766-1774) and its speaker (1776-1777 and 1787-1788), member (1774 and 1775) and president (1775) of the Provincial Congress, and paymaster-general in 1775, James Warren took a leading part in the events of the American revolutionary period, and his wife followed its progress with keen interest. Her gifts of satire were utilized in her political dramas, The Adulator (1773) and The Group (1775); and John Adams, whose wife Abigail was Mercy Warren's close friend, encouraged her to further efforts. Her tragedies "The Sack of Rome" and "The Ladies of Castile," were included in her Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous (1790), dedicated to General Washington. Apart from their historical interest among the beginnings of American literature, Mercy Warren's poems have no permanent value. In 1805 she published a History of the American Revolution, which was colored by somewhat outspoken personal criticism and was bitterly resented by John Adams (see his correspondence, published by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1878). James Warren died in 1808, and his wife followed him on the 19th of October 1814."

Mercy (a stage play) by Richard Seltzer

This two-act historical comedy is based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and General Johnny Burgoyne. A recent biography of Burgoyne, entitled The Man Who Lost America, focuses on his defeat and surrender at Saratoga in 1777. A recent biography of Mercy Warren, entitled First Lady of the Revolution, indicates that she was intimately connected with principal actors and actions of the Revolution.

Both Burgoyne and Mercy Warren were playwrights. After the Revolution, Burgoyne wrote several "hit" plays for the London stage. In 1775, during the British occupation of Boston, he wrote The Blockade of Boston. Mercy replied with a play entitled The Blockheads.

These two historical figures are natural antagonists who should be made to meet on the stage. 

Rights Crossing (a stage play) by Richard Seltzer

This two-act historical play was written for Columbia, Pennsylvania, where it was performed December 1-4, 1976, as part of that town's bicentennial celebration. The events of the play take place in December 1777 and center around the Conway Conspiracy.

The action focuses on the strategic importance of the ferry crossing that would one day become Columbia; situated between Congress in York and the army in Valley Forge. The fates of the town-to-be and the nation-to-be are interwoven, with local historical figures playing significant roles in a plausible confrontation with Conway and Mifflin.

Conway, plotting to overthrow Washington, tries to seize the ferry. But he underestimates the determination and resourcefulness of old Susannah Wright, the owner of the ferry, and her nephew Sam, the future founder of the town of Columbia.

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