Josiah, jr. (so called to distinguish him from his father, who survived him), an American lawyer, born in Boston, Feb. 23, 1744, died at sea off Gloucester, Mass.; April 26, 1775. He graduated at Harvard college in 1763, and studied law. After the passage of the stamp act he denounced the oppressions of the parliament and its violations of the rights of the colonists, in public meetings and through the press. Though of a slender frame and imperfect health, he had a voice of great compass and beauty, and a graceful and passionate delivery. His name is associated with those of James Otis and Joseph Warren, as men who were most powerfully influential in causing the revolution. On the arrest of Capt. Preston and the soldiers who fired upon the people in the "Boston massacre" of March 5, 1770, application was made on their behalf to Mr. Quincy and to John Adams to act as their counsel. This duty they accepted in the face of the strongest popular opprobrium, and on the trials the next autumn the acquittal of the prisoners justified their course. In 1773 Quincy on account of ill health sailed to Charleston, S. C, returning on horseback in the spring.
During this tour he put himself in communication with the principal whigs of the southern and middle states, and established a plan of correspondence between them and the Massachusetts patriots. Besides his speeches in town meetings and other public assemblies, he made bold and animated appeals through the newspapers, under various signatures. In May, 1774, he published under his own name his principal political work, "Observations on the Boston Port Bill, with Thoughts on Civil Government and Standing Armies." In it he distinctly declares the inevitable necessity of the appeal to arms which soon followed, and plainly shadows forth independence as the necessary result. This work was republished in London, and excited much attention on the part both of ministerialists and the opposition. An attempt was made to deter him from publishing it by an elaborate letter sent to him anonymously, but believed to have proceeded from a high functionary of the government. To this letter he made a brief but spirited reply through the "Massachusetts Gazette," and forthwith proceeded with the publication. He was prevailed upon in September, 1774, to go to England on a private mission for the popular cause, as well as for the good of his health.
This visit excited considerable notice in London. He had interviews, at their own request, with Lord North and Lord Dartmouth, and was in constant intercourse with Dr. Franklin, Col. Hartley, Gov. Pownall, the earl of Shelburne, Col. Barrť, Dr. Priestley, Dr. Price, and other prominent friends of America. Lord Hillsborough denounced him in his place in the house of lords, as a man who, if the government did its duty, "would be in Newgate or at Tyburn." He prepared to return early in the spring of 1775, against the advice of his physician, but died just before arriving. Almost his last words were that he should die content could he have but an hour's interview with Samuel Adams or Joseph Warren. His "Reports of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts Bay, 1761-'72," was edited by S.M. Quincy (8vo, 1865). See also his life by his son Josiah Quincy (8vo, 1825; new ed., 1875).
Josiah, an American statesman, son of the preceding, born in Boston, Feb. 4, 1772, died in Quincy, July 1, 1864. He received his early education at Phillips academy, Andover, and graduated at Harvard college in 1790. He studied law in Boston, and began practice in 1793. In 1804 he was elected state senator, and in 1805 became a member of congress, where he served till 1813. During the whole of this period the federal party was in a hopeless minority; its only service was one of protest, and Mr. Quincy was its most prominent and efficient member in the discharge of this duty. The embargo, the Avar of 1812, the erection of the Orleans territory into a state, which were the chief public measures of that period, he encountered with the most untiring hostility. He was one of the first, if not the first, among northern men to denounce the slaveholding interest as a rising and dangerous tyranny. In 1813, having declined a reŽlection, he returned to private life, dividing his year between Boston and his country seat at Quincy. He was immediately elected a member of the state senate, and joined in the protest of the legislature against the war and the admission of Louisiana, and reported the famous resolution, occasioned by a proposed vote of thanks to Capt. Lawrence for the capture of the Peacock, to the effect that in a war waged without justifiable cause and for conquest and ambition, it was not becoming a moral and religious people to express approbation of exploits not immediately connected with the defence of the seacoast and harbor.
He remained in the state senate till the close of 1820, when he was dropped by the federal managers under an impression that his uncompromising course had weakened his popularity, but was immediately elected to the house of representatives at the head of the ticket, and chosen speaker, which office he held while in the house. In 1822 he resigned to take the office of judge of the municipal court of Boston. He first laid down the law in the case of Joseph T. Buckingham, indicted for a libel on John N. Maffit, that the publication of the truth, with a good intention, and for a justifiable end, is not libellous. This ruling excited much censure at the time, but is now the acknowledged rule of law in this country and in England. In 1823 he left the bench to become mayor of Boston, being the second incumbent of that office, which he held till 1828, when he was chosen president of Harvard university. He was inaugurated in June, 1829, and held the post till August, 1845, when he resigned. In 1856 he took a prominent part in the effort to elect Fremont to the presidency.
Besides many speeches in congress and orations on particular occasions (the chief of which are those on July 4, 1826, the jubilee of independence, on the second centennial celebration of the settlement of Boston, September, 1830, and the second centennial of Harvard university, September, 1836), Mr. Quincy published "Memoir of Josiah Quincy, jr., of Massachusetts" (Boston, 1825; new ed., 1875); "History of Harvard University" (2 vols., Cambridge, 1840); "The Journals of Major Samuel Shaw, the first American Consul at Canton, with a Life of the Author" (Boston, 1847); "The History of the Boston Athenaeum" (Cambridge, 1851); "The Municipal History of the Town and City of Boston during two Centuries" (Boston, 1852); "The Life of John Quincy Adams" (1858); and "Essays on the Soiling of Cattle" (1859). - See his life by his son Edmund Quincy (1867), who has also edited his "Speeches delivered in the Congress of the United States" (8vo, 1875).
Edmund, an American author, son of the preceding, born in Boston, Feb. 1, 1808. He graduated at Harvard college in 1827. He has published "Wensley, a Story without a Moral" (Boston, 1854), and a "Memoir of Josiah Quincy" (8vo, 1867), and has been a frequent contributor to literary periodicals and political newspapers. He was long prominent among the Garrisonian abolitionists.