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Edmund Quincy

QUINCY, Edmund, emigrant, born in Wigsthorpe, Northamptonshire, England, in 1602; died in Mr. Wollaston, Massachusetts, in November or December, 1635. His family seems to have been connected with the Quincys, Earls of Winchester in the 13th century. (See Grate's "Memoranda respecting the Families of Quincy and Adams," Havana, 18410 Edmund Quincy came to Massachusetts in 1628, and, after returning to England for his wife and children, sailed again in the ship which brought the Reverend John Cotton, and anchored in Boston harbor, 4 September, 1633. He was one of the committee appointed to purchase the rights of William Black-stone to the Shawmut peninsula. In 1635 several thousand acres of land in the Mr. Wollaston plantation were granted to Edmund Quincy and William Coddington, afterward one of the founders of Rhode Island. This district was presently set off from Boston as a distinct township under the name of Braintree, and part of it was long afterward incorporated as the town of Quincy.--His son, Edmund, born at Achurch, Northamptonshire, in 1627 : died in Braintree, 8 January, 1698, was a magistrate and representative of his town in the general court, and lieutenant-colonel of the Suffolk regiment. In 1689 he was appointed one of the committee of safety, which formed the provisional government of the colony until the arrival of the new charter from William and Mary. He had two sons, Daniel and Edmund, the former of whom died before his father.--Daniel's only son, John, statesman, born in Braintree in 1689; died there in 1767, was graduated at Harvard in 1708. He held the office of speaker of the house of representatives longer than any other person in the provincial period, and was for forty successive years a member of the council. His great-grandson, JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, was named for him.--Edmund's younger son, Edmund, statesman, born in Braintree in October, 1681; died in London, 23 February, 1738, was graduated at Harvard in 1699, and entered early into public life as representative from his native town, and afterward as member of the council. He was a judge of the supreme court from 1718 until his death. A controversy having arisen as to the boundary between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, he was appointed agent for Massachusetts, and embarked for England in December, 1737. Soon after his arrival in London he fell a victim to small-pox. He left two sons, Edmund and Josiah.--The elder, Ed-round, merchant, born in Braintree, in 1703; died there in 1788, was graduated at Harvard in 1722. He was author of a "Treatise on Hemp Husbandry," published in 1765. One of his daughters married John Hancock.--The younger, Josiah, merchant, born in Braintree in 1709 ; died there in 1784, was graduated at Harvard in 1728. Between 1737 and 1749 he spent much of his time in Europe. He was appointed in 1755 joint commissioner with Thomas Pownall to negotiate with the colonies of New York and Pennsylvania for aid in erecting a frontier barrier against the French, at Ticonderoga. He was a friend and correspondent of Franklin and Washington, and erected the mansion seen in the accompanying illustration, which is still occupied by his descendants.--Josiah's second son, Samuel, lawyer, born in Braintree, Massachusetts, 13 April, 1735" died in Antigua in 1789, was graduated at Harvard in 1754. He was an intimate friend of John Adams, and the two were admitted to the bar on the same day, 6 November, 1758. Samuel Quincy became eminent in his profession, and rose to the dignity of solicitor-general of the province. His official position influenced his political views. He became a Tory, and at the end of the siege of Boston in March, 1776, he left the country with other lowdists. By way of compensation for his exile and losses, he was appointed attorney-general of Antigua, which office he held until his death.--Josiah's third son, Josiah, lawyer, born in Boston, 23 February, 1744; died at sea off Gloucester, Massachusetts, 26 April, 1775, was graduated at Harvard in 1763. Three years later, on taking his master's degree, he delivered an English oration on " Patriotism," which exhibited his wonderful power as an orator. Heretofore the orations had been in Latin. He studied law with Oxen-bridge Thacher, and succeeded him in his extensive and lucrative practice. He soon rose to the foremost rank in his profession. At the same time he gave much attention to politics, and on the occasion of the Townshend measures of 1767 he published in the Boston "Gazette" a series of extremely able articles, signed "Hyperion." After the so-called "Boston massacre" he was selected, together with John Adams, by Captain Preston as counsel for himself and his soldiers who had fired on the crowd. The popular excitement was such that it required not only moral but physical courage to perform this duty. Mr. Quincy's own father wrote him a letter of passionate remonstrance. That he should undertake the defence of "those criminals charged with the murder of their fellow-citizens" seemed monstrous. "Good God !" wrote the father, "is it possible ! I will not believe it !" The son, in reply, maintained that it was his professional duty to give legal advice and assistance to men accused of a crime but not proved guilty of it. "I never harbored the expectation," said he, "nor any great desire, that all men should speak well of me. To inquire my duty and do it, is my aim." After the excitement was over, Mr. Quincy's course was warmly commended by nearly everybody. During the next two years his business greatly increased, but he still found time to write stirring political pamphlets. He wrote in "Edes and Gill's Gazette," over the signatures of "Callisthenes," "Tertius in Nubibus," "Edward Sexby," and "Marchmont Nedham." He was also the author of the "Draught of Instructions to the Boston Representatives in May, 1772," and the "Report of a Committee chosen by the Inhabitants of Petersham, 4th January, 1773." All these papers are characterized by clearness and boldness. He was one of the first to say, in plain terms, that an appeal to arms, followed by a separation from the mother-country, was inevitable. It had by this time become evident that he was suffering from pulmonary consumption, and in February, 1773, by the advice of physicians, he made a voyage to Charleston, and travelled through the Carolinas, returning to Boston late in May. He was present in the Old South meeting-house on 16 December, and as the men, disguised as Indians, rushed past the door on their way to the tea-ships, he exclaimed: "I see the clouds which now rise thick and fast upon our horizon, the thunders roll, and the lightnings play, and to that God who rides on the whirlwind and directs the storm I commit my country." In May, 1774, he published his most important political work, entitled "Observations on the Act of Parliament commonly called the Boston Port Bill, with Thoughts on Civil Society and Standing Armies." In September of that year he sailed for England as a confidential agent of the patriot party to consult and advise with the friends of America there. He was politely received by Lords North and Dartmouth, as well as by members of the opposition, such as Shelburne and Barrd; but the Earl of Hillsborough declared, in the house of lords: "There are men walking the streets of London today who ought to be in Newgate or at Tyburn." The earl meant Mr. Quincy and Dr. Franklin. In March, 1775, the young man, wasted with disease, sailed for Boston, bearing a message, which died with him, from the Whig leaders in England to their friends in America. As he felt the approach of death, while almost within sight of his native hind, he said again and again that if he could only talk for one hour with Samuel Adams or Joseph Warren, he should be content to die. Mr. Quincy's power as an orator was very great, and, in spite of the weakness of his lungs, his voice was remarkable for its resonant and penetrating quality as well as for its sweetness. He married in 1769 Abigail Phillips, and had one son, Josiah. See "Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy, Jr., by his Son" (Boston, 1825; 3d ed., edited by Eliza Susan Quincy, Boston, 1875).--His son, Josiah, statesman, born in Boston, 4 February, 1772; died in Quincy, Massachusetts, 1 July, 1864. He was fitted for college at Phillips academy, Andover, and was graduated at Harvard in 1790 at the head of his class. He studied law with William Tudor, and was admitted to the bar in 1793. His practice was not large, and he had considerable leisure to devote to study and to polities. In 1797 he married Miss Eliza Susan Morton, of New York. On 4 July, 1798, he delivered the annual oration in the Old South meeting-house, and gained such a reputation thereby that the Federalists selected him as their candidate for congress in 1800. The Republican newspapers ridiculed the idea of a member of congress only twenty-eight years old, and called aloud for a cradle to rock him in. Mr. Quincy was defeated. In the spring of 1804 he was elected to the state senate of Massachusetts, and in the autumn of that year he was elected to congress. During his senatorship he was active in urging his state to suggest an amendment to the Federal constitution, eliminating the clause that permitted the slave-states to count three fifths of their slaves as part of their basis of representation. If such a measure could have had any chance of success at that moment, its effect would of course have been to breakup the Union. Mr. Quincy dreaded the extension of slavery, and foresaw that the existence of that institution was likely to bring on a civil war; but it was not evident then, as it is now, that a civil war in 1861 was greatly to be preferred to civil war or peaceable secession in 1805. As member of congress, Mr. Quincy belonged to the party of extreme Federalists known as the " Essex junto." The Federalists were then in a hopeless minority; even the Massachusetts delegation in congress had ten Republicans to seven Federalists. In some ways Mr. Quincy showed a disposition to independent action, as in refusing to follow his party in dealing with Randolph's malcontent faction known as the "quids." He fiercely opposed the embargo and the war with England. But his most famous action related to the admission of Louisiana as a state. There was at that time a strong jealousy of the new western country on the part of the New England states. There was a fear that the region west of the Alleghanies would come to be more populous than the original thirteen states, and that thus the control of the Federal government would pass into the hands of people described by New Englanders as "backwoodsmen." Gouverneur Morris had given expression to such a fear in 1787 in the Federal convention. In 1811, when it was proposed to admit Louisiana as a state, the high Federalists took the ground that the constitution had not conferred upon congress the power to admit new states except such as should be formed from territory already belonging to the Union in 1787. Mr. Quincy maintained this position in a remarkable speech, 4 January, 1811, in which he used some strong language. "Why, sir, I have already heard of six states, and some say there will be at no great distance of time more. I have also heard that the mouth of the Ohio will be far to the east of the centre of the contemplated empire ... It is impossible such a power could be granted. It was not for these men that our fathers fought. It was not for them this constitution was adopted. You have no authority to throw the rights and liberties and property of this people into notch-pot with the wild men on the Missouri, or with the mixed, though more respectable, race of Anglo-Hispano-Gallo-Americans, who bask on the sands in the mouth of the Mississippi .... I am compelled to declare it as my deliberate opinion that, if this bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved; that the states which compose it are free from their moral obligations; and that, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for a separation--amicably, if they can; violently, if they must." This was, according to Hildreth, "the first announcement on the floor of congress of the doctrine of secession." Though opposed to the war with England, Mr. Quincy did not go so far as some of the Federalists in refusing support to the administration; his great speech on the navy, 25 January, 1812, won applause from all parties. In that year he declined a re-election to congress. For the next ten years he was most of the time a member of the Massachusetts legislature, but a great part of his attention was given to his farm at Quincy. He was member of the convention of 1820 for revising the state constitution. In the following year he was speaker of the house. From 1823 to 1828 he was mayor of Boston, and his administration was memorable for the number of valuable reforms effected by his energy and skill. Everything was overhauled--the police, the prisons, the schools, the streets, the fire department, and the great market was built near Faneuil hall. In 1829 he was chosen president of Harvard, and held that position until 1845. During his administration Dane hall was built for the law-school and Gore hall for the university library; and it was due mainly to his exertions that the astronomical observatory was founded and equipped with its great telescope, which is still one of the finest in the world. In 1834, in the face of violent opposition, Mr. Quincy succeeded in establishing the principle that "where flagrant outrages were committed against persons or property by members of the university, within its limits, they should be proceeded against, in the last resort, like any other citizens, before the courts of the commonwealth." The effect of this measure was most wholesome in checking the peculiar kinds of ruffianism which the community has often been inclined to tolerate in college students. Mr. Quincy also introduced the system of marking, which continued to be used for more than forty years at Harvard. By this system the merit of every college exercise was valued according to a scale of numbers, from one to eight, by the professor or tutor, at the time of its performance. Examinations were rated in various multiples of eight, and all these marks were set down to the credit of the individual student. Delinquencies of various degrees of importance were also estimated in multiples of eight, and charged on the debit side of the account. At the end of the year the balance to the student's credit was compared with the sum-total that an unbroken series of perfect marks, unaffected by deductions, would have yielded, and the resulting percentage determined the rank of the student. President Quincy was also strongly in favor of the elective system of studies, in so far as it was compatible with the general state of advancement of the students in his time, and with the means of instruction at, the disposal of the university. The elective experiment was tried more thoroughly, and on a broader scale, under his administration than under any other down to the time of President Eliot. From 1845 to 1864 Mr. Quincy led a quiet and pleasant life, devoted to literary and social pursuits. He continued till the last to take a warm interest in polities, and was an enthusiastic admirer of President Lincoln. His principal writings are "History of Harvard University" (2 vols., Boston, 1840); " History of the Boston Athenmum" (Boston, 1851) ; "Municipal History of Boston" (Boston, 1852); "Memoir of J. Q. Adams" (Boston, 1858): and "Speeches delivered in Congress" (edited by his son, Edmund, Boston, 1874). His biography, by his son, Edmund (Boston, 1867), is an admirable work. See also J. R. Lowell's "My Study Window." pp. 83-114.--His wife, Eliza Susan (MORTON), born in New York in 1773; died in Quincy, 1 September, 1850, was a daughter of John Morton, a New York merchant, of Scottish descent, and Maria Sophia Kemper, whose father was a native of Kaub, Germany. During the occupation of New York by the British, Mr. and Mrs. Morton lived in New Jersey, first at Elizabeth, afterward at Baskingridge. A son born at the former place in 1775 was named Washington, and his sister in her " Memoirs" declares that this must have been the first child named after the "Father of his Country." Miss Morton possessed musical talent, and on a visit to Boston in 1794 she won Mr. Quincy's heart with a song; in a week from the day that he first met her and learned the fact of her existence he was engaged to be married to her. Mrs. Quincy was a charming and accomplished lady. In 1821, in compliance with the request of her children, she wrote the memoirs of her early life. Forty years afterward the fragment of au autobiography thus begun was incorporated in the admirable memoir of Mrs. Quincy by her daughter, Eliza Susan. Mrs. Quincy's recollections of such incidents of the Revolutionary war as came within her childish ken are especially interesting.--Their eldest son, Josiah, born in Boston, 17 January, 1802; died in Quincy, 2 November, 1882, was graduated at Harvard in 1821. He was mayor of Boston from 1845 to 1849, and author of " Figures of the Past" (Boston, 1882).--His son, Josiah Phillips, born in Boston, 28 November, 1829, was graduated at Harvard in 1850, and is the author of the dramas "Charicles" (Boston, 1856), "Lyteria" (1855), and a political essay on " The Protection of Majorities " (1876).-Another son, Samuel Miller, born in Boston in 1833, was graduated at Harvard in 1852, was admitted to the Boston bar, and for several years edited the "Monthly Law Reporter." He entered the army as captain in the 2d Massachusetts regiment, 24 May, 1861, became lieutenant-colonel of the 72d United States colored regiment, 20 October, 1863, and its colonel, 24 May, 1864, and on 13 March, 1865, was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers. He has edited the "Reports of Cases" of his great-grandfather, Josiah (1865).-President Josiah's second son, Edmund, author, born in Boston, 1 February, 1808; died in Dedham, 17 May, 1877, was graduated at Harvard in 1827. He deserves especial mention for the excellent biography of his father, above mentioned. His novel "Wensley" (Boston, 1854) was said by Whittier to be the best book of the kind since the "Blithedale Romance." His contributions to the anti-slavery press for many years were able and valuable.--His sister, Eliza Susan, born in Boston, 15 January, 1798; died at. Quincy, 17 January, 1884, was her father's secretary for nearly half a century, and also furnished various papers to historical societies, and was well known for her charities as well as for her literary qualities. From her diary, dating from 1810, her brothers drew material for their publications. She retained her vigorous intellect until her death, which occurred in the mansion of her grandmother. She issued a privately printed memoir of her mother (Boston, 1864).--Abraham Howard, editor, born in Boston in November, 1767; died in Washington, D. C., 11 September, 1840, was a grandson of Edmund, author of the "Treatise on Hemp Husbandry." From 1788 until 1812 he was engaged in mercantile business in Boston. In 1808 his interest in the disputes with Great Britain led him into the field of journalism, and on 18 November of that year he published the first number of a weekly paper entitled the "Columbian Detector." After 10 May, 1809, it was published twice a week. It was afterward merged in the "Boston Patriot." From 1828 to 1882 Mr. Quincy lived at Eastport, Maine, where for a short time he edited the "Northern Light." In 1832, receiving an appointment in the navy department, he removed to Washington. See C. T. Coote's "Life and Character of A. H. Quincy" (Washington, 1840).

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