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Quincy

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QUINCY, Josiah, American statesman and educator: b. Boston, 4 Feb. 1772; d. Quincy, Mass., 1 July 1864. He was graduated from Harvard in 1790, studied law and in 1793 was admitted to practice, and gave much study to political problems. By his oration in Old South 4 July 1798, he gained so extended a reputation that in 1800 he was made Federalist candidate for representative in Congress. Though de feated then through the ridicule of Republican journals, he was elected in the autumn of 1804 after having in the spring of that year been chosen to the State senate. He remained in Congress until 1812, when he declined re-elec tion. He was a finished orator, spoke boldly on many difficult topics of debate, and was one of the most efficient members of his party, which during his whole term of service remained hopelessly in the minority. His statesman-like grasp of affairs is most clearly shown by the constant emphasis which he placed upon the increasing political danger with which the Union was menaced by the slave power. He feared civil war, and preferred a peaceable secession a course not then seen, as it was later, to be impossible. In the State senate he urged Massa chusetts to suggest to Congress an amendment of the Constitution, by which the clause permit ting slave-States to reckon three-fifths of the slave population in obtaining a basis for repre sentation was to be stricken out. Of course, such a measure, had it succeeded, would have resulted in the dismemberment of the Union. Quincy opposed the annexation of the Louisiana territory, and in his speech of 4 Jan. 1811 took the advanced Federalist position that the Con stitution did not confer on Congress power to admit any new States save such as might be formed from territory belonging to the United States in 1787. He declared that, if the bill passed, the Union was thereby dissolved, and that it would be the right of all States and the duty of some prepare definitely for a sepa This is believed to be the earliest enun ciation in Congress of the doctrine of secession.

Eventually Quincy acquiesced in the purchase, upon each of the original 13 States signifying its assent. He attacked the Embargo, and opposed the War of 1812, though unlike many Federal ists, he supported the administration, and on 25 Jan. 1812 made in the House a notable speech on the navy. Upon his retirement from Con gress in 1813, he was at once elected to the State senate, where he remained until 1820, then entering the House of Representatives, of which he was speaker until his resignation in 1822 to become judge of the Boston Municipal Court. In this capacity he was the first to hand down the ruling then much criticized but now accepted in the United States and England, that the publication of truth with good intent and for a justifiable end is not libel. From 1823 to 1828 he was second mayor of Boston; during his administration all the municipal departments were put in efficient working order. In 1829 he became president of Harvard, and this post he held until his retirement in 1845. In 1856 he was a supporter of Fremont for the presidency. Besides several speeches, he published (History of Harvard University) (1840);