December 176888

    An independency, in the strict sense of the word, I know is not the lot of man; but to restrain, to a certain degree, the instability of fortune, is much in our power. So far, then, an independence is attainable. Let those who will laugh at the paltry certainty which is to be gained. Surely, it would be some alleviation, under the pressure of misfortune, to think that our own folly and rashness contributed in no part to the heavy burden. Alas, how few of the sons of men have this happy consolation! Hence, most of those idle and vague declamations, which we so often hear, upon the fickleness and inconstancy of fortune. When thoroughly examined, the grand source is found in the hasty presumption of a foolish vanity, or the weak irresolution of a vicious heart. To apply for assistance, where my own foresight might have prevented the necessity, would be to me worse than death. Early in life I was fixed, experience has confirmed me, to suffer every stroke of adversity, let it be as severe as even imagination can paint, ere I would implore any earthly relief from distress, against which my own prudence might have armed me. To ask assistance, where, if it were declined, your redoubled efforts would supply your exigence, is the daily course of human affairs: but to seek relief, where a denial reduces you to despair, would be torment beyond expression.

    Through your watchful care of my education and your kind munificence, I am out of a temptation to the meaner vices, and in that state which, to one of my temper, is the happiest human nature can boast, an independency, save on God and myself, for a decent support through life, and the hope of quitting the stage with that best human standard of true worth, the general approbation of my countrymen. How deeply my heart is affected, by those invaluable favours, is not for profession to convince you, but will be, I trust, best manifested by the uniform tenor of my life, who wishes ever to be esteemed, as, he thinks, he really is.

    Your affectionate son,

    Josiah Quincy junr

    The interruptions, which perplexed the composition and transcribing of this Letter plead some excuse for Errors.