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Letter from Josiah Quincy to Josiah Quincy



Braintree, October 31, 1774.

MY DEAR SON: It is now four weeks since you sailed, and if my prayers are heard and the petition of them granted, your health is restored, your voyage comfortable, and your arrival safe; news that would be almost as joyful and reviving to your aged father, as to hear that, through your mediation, peace and harmony were restored between the parent state and her injured and oppressed


children upon this Continent. I have not, nor shall forget to inform you of facts as they have taken, or may take place, since you left us; but my retired situation will not permit my gratifying you so much as I should otherwise be glad to do.

All the Tories and some of the Whigs resent your clandestine departure. Many of the former say, that as soon as your arrival is known, you will be apprehended and secured. Some say you are gone to Holland, and from thence to the South of France. Others say the General Congress have appointed and commissioned you their agent at the Court of Great Britain, and that you had your credentials and instructions from them before you went away. Your friends say your principal motive is the recovery of your health, which if Providence should please to restore, they rest assured of your best endeavours to procure a redress of the grievances, and a speedy removal of the intolerable burdens, with which your native country is and has been long oppressed.

God Almighty grant, if your life and health are spared, that you may succeed in every respect.

When in Town I found two political productions, "An Essay on the Constitutional Power of Great Britain over the Colonies in America;" and "A Letter from Lord Lyttleton to Lord Chatham, on the Quebec Bill.' ' They are each of them esteemed masterly productions by their respective partisans. Before this reaches you, I doubt not you will have received the former from its author. I regret his allowing Great Britain a revenue from the Colonies, while she persists in her claim of an exclusive trade with them, which appears to me to be an overbalance for all the protection she has or can afford them, especially when it is considered that all the profits resulting from the immense extent of territory ceded to her at the Treaty of Paris, remains solely to her. At the same time, we are restrained from the profitable Whale and Cod fisheries in the Bay of St˙ Lawrance, and the Straits of Belle Isle, which we formerly enjoyed without interruption. If I am not greatly mistaken, there is not a single argument in Lord Lyttleton' s letter, whereby he endeavours to prove the justice, wisdom, benevolence, and policy of Parliament in indulging the Canadians with the French laws. which will not much more forcibly conclude in behalf of the Colonies, that their respective Constitutions and Laws should remain inviolate, and the rights and privileges secured by them, upon no pretence whatever, to be abridged. Where then is the wisdom, benevolence, and justice of Parliament? What, besides low-cunning and left-handed policy, could induce them to their past and present violent measures, which must ultimately be as injurious to them as they are, or can be, to us. But his Lordship in the close of his letter tells us "it is necessary to conciliate the affections of the Canadians, and thereby induce them to assist Administration in coercing America!" Read this passage, attend to the meaning of it, and then, if you can, suppress your indignation. What! have we Americans spent so much of our blood and treasure in aiding Britain to conquer Canada, that Britons and Canadians may now subjugate us? Forbid it Heaven!

Is this the "policy," which he recommends as "best calculated to unite natural-born, and adopted subjects, in one common bond of interest, affection and duty?" But I must quit the subject.

I have filled my paper, and have only room to add the affectionate, regards of your family, joined to those of your unalterably fond parent, JOSIAH QUINCY.



* John Dickinson, of Pennsylvania.