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publics, they must ultimately affect the United States; and it is not easy to foresee or calculate the advantages that would be gained, or the evils that would be averted, in our future national progress, by exercising a timely and salutary influence in the counsels, whose prosessed design is to form a system of mutual intercourse and political operations, for six distinct governments on the western continent, some of them already powerful, and all possessing the means of rapid growth and strength.
ART. IX.-Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy Junior,
of Massachusetts. By his Son, Josiah Quincy. Boston. 1825. Cummings, Hilliard & Company. Svo. pp. 498. The history of the American revolution, familiar as it is in its prominent features, relates to a subject of so much importance, as may well inspire that general and growing interest, which is observable, to learn the minuter circumstances, that may be communicated by authentic memoirs, respecting the causes, principles, and incidents of the contest, and of the distinguished agents in the great transaction. During the war, all hearts were engaged in active and arduous efforts, to bring it to a successful issue. While such energies were in exercise, the interesting preliminary questions relative to colonial rights and duties, allegiance and supremacy, which had been so amply and ably discussed, were superseded. When peace was declared, and independence secured, the whole country was miserably exhausted by the exertions and sufferings incident to the arduous struggle, and all became earnestly engaged, according to their opportunities, in repairing their wasted fortunes, or in securing the means of subsistence in the various employments, to which they had been accustomed, or in the new pursuits which were opened by the revolution.
To these exertions there were, for a time, many discouraging obstacles. The change of political relations, resulting from the revolution, impeded, in a degree, the prosecution of some of the former branches of business. Time, experience, and more abundant means, than were then possessed, were necessary for successful pursuits, in the new avenues which were presented. In the mean time, the public debt was pressing, no adequate national provision existed for its discharge, and the honorable exertions of individual states to comply with their obligations, were beyond their means, created discontents, and, in one instance, rebellion. To these discouraging incidents, were added some untoward circumstances, in reference to the brave men, who fought the battles of the revolution. Commutation pay and Cincinnati honors excited a dissatisfaction, that sor a time restrained the generous emotions, which would otherwise have naturally prevailed.
From these and other causes, which might be mentioned, we are not to look to the early years of our national progress, immediately after the war, for any very intense interest in the history of the revolution. The important discussions which succeeded, relative to a new organisation of the national government, commanded almost exclusive attention to that object. The French revolution, wbich followed, revived congenial feelings and sentiments connected with the American contest; but the bloody and revolting transactions, which accompanied that memorable struggle, repressed the early sympathies, which were manifested, and considerate men devoted all their influence, to guard against the dangers of perverted sentiment, to establish the new national edifice on solid foundations, and to maintain a safe and steady course in the administration of public affairs, during the fierce and alarming conflicts of contending nations. It was then that a recurrence to the principles of the revolution was less cordially cherished, by becoming the instrument of party. In every stage, however, it may be affirmed, there has been no real want of attachment to those principles. Men only differed as to the time, manner, and occasion of their expression, and as to their application. In the course of events, there is happily a return to the old good sense and old good humor' of the country; and we have arrived at a period, commencing with the treaty of Ghent, when a greater degree of political catholicism prevails, and among the various interesting topics to which a liberal curiosity is extended, the principles, causes, VOL. XXII.-NO. 50.
events, and characters of the revolution, have their just share of public attention.
Speculations and details of this description are more valuable and deserving a complacent reception, as they are free from party views, and are not for the purpose of reviving extinguished animosities. They are regarded as a just tribute to departed worthies; as preserving precious elements of national bistory; as instructive lessons for political conduct, and as laudable incitements to manly sentiment and magnanimous deportment, in seasons of distress and danger. Under such impressions, they come with a lively warmth, but with a pure and chastened tone, from men of refined taste and elevated views. We follow them to scenes of strenuous action, not for the indulgence of angry passions, but from dutiful regards and grateful remembrances, in harmony with generous affections, and not unfriendly to that diffusive philanthropy, which it is desirable to cultivate.
hinc maxima porrò Accepit Roma, et patrium servavit honorem. A memoir of the life of Josiah Quincy junior could, at do period, be uninteresting to the American people; but from the considerations which have been suggested, and from the remarks of the worthy and respectable editor, we cannot but think the time of publication to be well chosen.
By the lapse of half a century, the actors in the scenes immediately preceding the war of the American Revolution, begin to be placed in a light and at a distance, favorable at once to right feeling and just criticism. In the possession of freedom, happiness, and prosperity, seldom if ever before equalled in the history of nations, the hearts of the American people naturally turn towards the memories of those, who, under Providence, were the instruments of obtaining these blessings. Curiosity awakens concerning their characters and motives. The desire grows daily more universal to repay, with a late and distant gratitude, their long neglected, and often forgotten, sacrifices and sufferings. p. v.
The volume consists of a well written biographical sketch of Mr Quincy, of copious extracts from his journals, kept on a tour to the Southern Provinces, as they were then denominated, and on a visit to England, of copies of letters to and from his friends and correspondents, principally on political
topics, and a reprint of bis Observations on the Boston Port Bill.
• The chief memorials of Josiah Quincy junior, belonging to this class, were, by his last will, bequeathed to his son, the editor of this work. They have frequently been solicited for publication, but, with the exception of the few extracts, which Gordon made and inserted in the first volume of his History of the American Revolution, no part has before been submitted to the press. They are now given to the general eye, not so much because they belong to that individual, as because his memory, from the circumstar.ces of his life, death, character, and labors, is inseparably identified with the times in which he lived, and with the fortunes of his country.'
The family of Quincy commences, on American ground, with Edınund Quincy, who came from England with the Rev. John Cotton, and arrived at Boston, September, 1633. Josiah Quincy junior was of the fourth generation from that venerable head, being the youngest of three brothers, sons of Josiah Quincy of Braintree, Massachusetts, who was the youngest son of Edmund Quincy, grandson of the Edmund first named. This faroily, in all its branches, and in every generation, has furnished distinguished men, who have, in a high degree, deservedly enjoyed the public confidence, in places of public trust and employment. The first Edmund Quincy was one of the representatives of Boston, to the first General Court held in the colony. His only son, Edmund, who died in 1697, was a magistrate of the county of Suffolk, and lieutenant colonel of the Suffolk regiment. John Quincy, his son, born 1689, was Speaker of the House of Representatives, for many successive years, and afterwards a member of the Council
. Edmund, his brother, was, in early life, a representative of Braintree, afterwards member of the Council, and Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature, from 1718 to his death, in 1738. He died of the small pox, in London, being, at that time, agent from Massachusetts, relative to a controversy with New Hampshire, respecting the boundary line between the two provinces. In grateful return for his eminent public services, a grant of one thousand acres of land was made to his heirs, by the General Court, and a monument was erected to his memory, at the place of his interment, in London, (Bunhill-fields,) at the expense of the province.
Josiah Quincy, his youngest son, accompanied his father to England. In 1755 he was employed to negotiate with Pennsylvania and New York, for assistance against the French aggressions on the frontiers. In the execution of this commission he became acquainted with Dr Franklin, with whom, and with other distinguished men of the age, he kept up a correspondence until his death, in 1784, having for many years lived in retirement, on his paternal estate, in Braintree. This estate, now the seat of his grandson, editor of this work, is in Quincy, a town set off from Braintree in 1792. In that town, also, is the paternal estate of John Quincy, above mentioned. It includes Mount Wollaston, the residence, in early times, of Thomas Morton, who was routed from his disorderly establishment by our sturdy ancestors. This estate is now the property of his great grandson, John Quincy Adams, President of the United States.
The subject of this memoir was born in Boston, February 23d, 1744.* He acquired the rudiments of a classical education,' we are informed, at Braintree, under the tuition of Mr Joseph Marsh, who was for many years master of a highly respected private school in that town. We are induced to believe, that his classical studies were merely commenced with Mr Marsh, for, on reference to a list of scholars at Master Lovel's school, in Boston, on which we may be allowed to rely, it appears, that young Quincy entered that celebrated school in 1754, and left it in 1759, when he was matriculated at Harvard College. Of his collegiate and professional studies and acquirements, and the developement of his character at that early period, we have the following information in the Memoir.
'In 1759, he entered Harvard University, where his industry, zeal, and unconquerable thirst for learning, were conspicuous. His taste was refined by an intimate acquaintance with the ancient classics, and his soul elevated and touched by the spirit of freedom they breathe. His compositions during this period also prove, that he was extensively conversant with the best writers of the French and English schools. Above all, the genius of Shakspeare seems to have led captive his youthful imagination. In his writings, quotations, or forms of expression, modelled upon those of that author, perpetually recur. There still exists among his papers, a
* Son of Josiah and Hannah Quincy. His mother was a daughter of John Sturgis Esq. of Yarmouth.