Six members of the prominent Massachusetts Quincy family, all named Josiah Quincy, played significant roles in American history. The first Josiah Quincy was born in Boston in 1709 and was a colonel during the American Revolution. He built Quincy House in 1770, from which he had a view of the shipping lanes in and out of Boston, reporting such useful information as he acquired to the patriot forces. He died in 1784.
His son, known as Josiah Quincy Jr., was born in Boston on January 23, 1744. A graduate of Harvard, he established a successful law practice. Following the Boston Massacre, he was on the defense team, along with John Adams, in the trial of Captain Preston. He wrote extensively on behalf of the patriot cause and sailed to England in 1774 to build support for the colonies. He was lost at sea on the return voyage in 1775.
The third Josiah Quincy was born in Boston on February 4, 1772, and was less than three years old when his father died. In the family tradition, he graduated from Harvard and soon became politically active. After some minor positions in Boston, he ran for the U.S. House, unsuccessfully in the Election of 1800 and successfully in 1806, with a stint in the Massachusetts Senate in between.
In the House, Quincy was a leader of the Federalist Party and protested the impact of the Embargo Act on New England shipping. He protested vehemently against the admission of Louisiana as a state in 1811. Sensing that the Federalists were a spent force in Congress, he did not run for re-election in 1812,
He returned to the Massachusetts Senate, and then to the Massachusetts House. In 1822, he was an unsuccessful candidate to become Boston's first mayor under its new city charter, and the following year was successful in the first of six elections to one-year terms. He introduced a number of important municipal improvements. From 1829 to 1845, he served as president of Harvard University. He died in Quincy, Massachusetts, on July 1, 1864.
This Josiah Quincy was technically Josiah Quincy III, but did not use the suffix, so his son Josiah was known as Josiah Quincy Jr, like his grandfather. Born on January 17, 1802, he was like his father a mayor of Boston, serving from 1845 to 1849. His son was Josiah Phillips Quincy.
A son Josiah was born to Josiah Phillips Quincy on October 15, 1859. He served from 1895 to 1897 as the third Boston mayor named Josiah Quincy. His administration was noted for its progressive policies. He died on September 8, 1919.
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Quotes by Josiah Quincy.
Regarding Admission of States to Union
If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of this Union; that it will free the states from their moral obligation, and, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must.
Address to Congress regarding admission of Louisiana as a state, 1811