"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Josiah Quincy III - Federalist Patriot

Josiah Quincy III
Massachusetts State Senator
Congressman from Massachusetts
Speaker, Massachusetts State House
2nd Mayor of Boston
President of Harvard University
Federalist Party

(Editor's Note - For a change of pace this winter we will do profiles of some of the Federalists who helped create this great nation. They gave us Liberty. But would they even recognize the centralized authoritarian and socialistic Big Brother nation that calls itself the United States?)

Josiah Quincy III  (February 4, 1772 – July 1, 1864) was a U.S. educator and political figure.

He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1805–1813), Mayor of Boston (1823–1828), and President of Harvard University (1829–1845). The historic Quincy Market in downtown Boston is named in his honor.

Early life and education

Quincy, the son of Josiah Quincy II and Abigail Phillips, was born in Boston, on that part of Washington Street that was then known as Marlborough Street. His father had traveled to England in 1774, partly for his health but mainly as an agent of the patriot cause to with the friends of the colonists in London. Josiah Quincy II died off of the coast of Gloucester on April 26, 1776. His son, young Josiah, was not yet three years old.

He entered Phillips Academy, Andover, when it opened in 1778, and graduated from Harvard in 1790. After his graduation from Harvard he studied law for three years.  Quincy was admitted to the bar in 1793, but was never a prominent advocate.

In 1797 Quincy married Eliza Susan Morton of New York. He was the father of seven children.

Federalist Party Leader

In 1798 Quincy was appointed Boston Town Orator by the Board of Selectmen, and in 1800 he was elected to the School Committee. Quincy became a leader of the Federalist Party in Massachusetts. 

As an ardent Federalist, he ran for the United States Congress in 1800 but was defeated. In 1804 he was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate and ran for Congress again in the Ninth Congressional district.

Winning election to Congress, Quincy spent the next eight years in Washington, D.C. Known as a “ranting Federal spouter,” Quincy’s congressional career was disappointing. The Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were in the ascendancy and the Federalist Party was in its decline.

He attempted to secure the exemption of fishing vessels from the Embargo Act, urged the strengthening of the United States Navy, and vigorously opposed the admittance of Louisiana as a state in 1811.

In this last matter he stated as his "deliberate opinion, that if this bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved; that the States that 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 probably the first assertion of the right of secession on the floor of Congress. Quincy left Congress because he saw that the Federalist opposition was useless.
Josiah Quincy, oil on canvas,
 Gilbert Stuart, 1824–1825.

During his career in Congress, Quincy was constantly challenging the Republican administration but without much effect. He left Congress in 1813 after voting against war with Great Britain.

Returning to political life in Massachusetts, Quincy was elected to the State Senate in 1813, serving until 1820. He continued his opposition to the War of 1812, opposed slavery, and spoke out against the domination of the government by the “slave power.” He was a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1820,

After leaving Congress, Quincy was a member of the Massachusetts Senate until 1820. In 1821–22 he was a member and speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Quincy resigned from the legislature to become judge of the municipal court of Boston.

In 1822 Quincy was a candidate for Mayor in Boston's first election under a city charter. After the first ballot the votes of this first election were split between Quincy and Harrison Gray Otis. Because neither had a majority of the electorate neither was elected. After the first vote resulted in neither man receiving a majority of the votes they both withdrew their candidacies and John Phillips was elected Boston's first mayor. In 1823 Quincy was elected as the second mayor of Boston, he would serve six one year terms from 1823 to 1828.

Quincy’s greatest impact as a public servant was as Mayor of Boston. During his administration, Quincy strengthened and centralized the authority of the mayor’s office and professionalized and modernized employment practices in the newly incorporated city.

His accomplishments included the regularization of garbage removal, the creation of a professional fire department, the introduction of municipal water and sewer systems, the opening of the House of Industry, Correction, and Juvenile Reform to replace out-of-door relief, and the establishment of a Department for the Correction and Reformation for Juvenile Offenders which instructed troublesome youth in appropriate manners.

Quincy attacked the breeding places of crime by revoking liquor licenses and by enforcing the laws against gambling and prostitution. At times he led volunteers on raids of the city’s criminal areas. Finally, Quincy initiated one of the first urban renewal projects in the country. He tore down a nest of tenements on the water front, constructed six wide streets, and filled in the tidal flats. This area later became known as Quincy Market, adjacent to Faneuil Hall.

Five Harvard University Presidents sitting in order of when they served.
L-R: Josiah Quincy III, Edward Everett, Jared Sparks, James Walker and Cornelius Conway Felton.

From 1829 to 1845, he was President of Harvard University, of which he had been an overseer since 1810, when the board was reorganized. He has been called "the great organizer of the university." He gave an elective (or "voluntary") system an elaborate trial; introduced a system of marking (on the scale of 8) on which college rank and honors, formerly rather carelessly assigned, were based; first used courts of law to punish students who destroyed or damaged college property; and helped to reform the finances of the university.

During his term Dane Hall (for law) was dedicated, Gore Hall was built, and the Astronomical Observatory was equipped. Quincy House, one of the university's twelve upperclass residential houses, is named for him.

Writing history had always been of interest to Quincy. He wrote the History of Harvard University (1836).  The Journals of Mayor Samuel Shaw (1847), A History of the Boston Athenaeum (1851), A Municipal History of Boston (1852), and Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams (1858).

His last years were spent principally on his farm in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he died on July 1, 1864.

(Harvard Square Library.org)          (Josiah Quincy III)


Life, Liberty and Property
“Citizens choose your sides. You who are for French notions of government; for the tempestuous sea of anarchy and misrule; for arming the poor against the rich; for fraternizing with the foes of God and man; go to the left and support the leaders, or the dupes, of the anti-federal junto. But you that are sober, industrious, thriving, and happy, give your votes for those men who mean to preserve the union of the states, the purity and vigor of our excellent Constitution, the sacred majesty of the laws, and the holy ordinances of religion.” - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - A New York Federalist Newspaper (Spring of 1800)

The Federalist Party was the first American political party.  The Federalists operated from the early 1790s to 1816, the era of the First Party System.  Remnants of the Party lasted into the late 1820s. The Federalists totally controlled the Federal government until 1801.

The party was formed by Alexander Hamilton, who, during George Washington's first term, built a network of supporters, largely urban bankers and businessmen, to support his Conservative fiscal policies. These supporters grew into the Federalist Party committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government. The United States' only Federalist President was John Adams; although George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, he remained an independent his entire presidency.

Read some profiles of the great Federalist leaders who helped build a free United States.

THE FEDERALIST - Robert Goodloe Harper - "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."

THE FEDERALIST - Edmund Randolph - Founding Father

THE FEDERALIST - Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge - George Washington's Spy

THE FEDERALIST - Colonel John Hoskins Stone

THE FEDERALIST - Revolutionary War General Henry Lee

THE FEDERALIST - John Quincy Adams

THE FEDERALIST - Thomas Jefferson and political attack ads

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