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Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts #74: Portrait of a Patriot Portrait of a Patriotby Josiah Quincy
Synopses & Reviews
Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744-1775), Boston lawyer and patriot penman, had he lived longer could have been a leader of the new American Republic with aname familiar in most households. In a four-volume series, the Colonial Society ofMassachusetts will reprint his major political and legal writings. Editor NeilLongley York provides a significant biographical introduction, followed by Quincy'sPolitical Commonplace Book, in which the patriot noted down passages from his widereading in politics and history that he believed relevant to his own times. Thus, readers have an unusual opportunity to enter into the extraordinary mind of apatriot immediately before the Revolution. A new edition of Quincy's London Journalfollows, the record of his last-ditch efforts to stave off the impending conflict byseeking some possible ground for compromise with leading British politicians in themonths before the battles at Lexington and Concord. Although the peace missionultimately failed, the journal provides a fascinating record of how British societyand leading figures in the government appeared to a young lawyer from a distantcolony.
Book News Annotation:
A frail and chronically ill boy, Quincy (1744-75) sought to fulfill and further the political activism of his wealthy and prominent Boston family by supporting the independence of the American colonies. Coquillette (Boston College and Harvard Law School) and York (education, Brigham Young U.) present essays on his life, work, and heritage, and the texts of his Political Commonplace Book and his journal of a trip to London in 1774-75. Distributed in the US by University of Virginia Press. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Providing readers with the unusual opportunity to enter into the extraordinary mind of a patriot immediately before the Revolution, the Portrait of a Patriot series presents the major papers of the Boston lawyer and patriot penman Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744-1775). In volume 2 of the series we are introduced to Quincy's Legal Commonplace Book; the companion of his Political Commonplace Book from volume 1, the Legal Commonplace Book illustrates the systematic program of reading through which aspiring young lawyers learned their trade in colonial New England. In the accompanying introduction, coeditor Daniel R. Coquillette explains how the system of legal apprenticeship worked in Boston and contends that the level of legal argument practiced in Massachusetts prior to the Revolution was much less provincial than previously assumed. Volume 2 also includes a new transcription of the journal Quincy kept on a 1773 trip to the southern colonies undertaken on behalf of the Boston Committee of Correspondence to assess the depth of commitment to the patriot cause there, in which Quincy comments tartly on southern manners, womenfolk, and the institution of slavery.
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