26 October[?]–3 November 1774544

    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 joyfull 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 wont permit my gratifying you so much as I should, otherwise, be glad to.545

    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. One in particular offered to lay 10 Guineas you were not gone to London, provided another 10 Guinea were laid, that you would not be hanged when you got there. 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 Burthens, with which your native Country is, and has been long oppressed. I had almost forgot to tell you, that your Sister Quincy, who is here upon a Visit, says, she heard a Gentleman say, you loved money too much, to be trusted at a Court where every thing is bought and sold: That if they could not refute your Arguments in Defence of your Country, they would offer invincible Arguments to induce you to betray it. Thus you see, how much you are a general Subject of Conversations: Perhaps, there never was an american, not even a D[ickinson] nor a F[ranklin], whose Abilities have raised the Expectations of their American Brethren more than yours.546 God Almighty grant, if your Life and Health is spared, that you may exceed them in every Respect.

    I last Monday, dined with your Wife at her Fathers where I had the Pleasure of seeing and caressing both my dear grand Children. The lovely Bouy and his Mamma, I expect, the Week after next, will come and spend a Month or two with us.547 When in Town I found two political Productions:—An Essay on the Constitutional Power of Great Britain over the Colonies in America, &c.” and a Letter from Lord Lyttleton to Lord Chatham on the Quebec Bill.548 They are each of them esteemed masterly Performances, by their respective Partizans. Before this reaches you, I doubt not you will have received the Former from its Author, whose distinguished Abilities shine through this equally, if not superior to his former Productions: however I regret his allowing Great Britain a Revenue from the Colonies, whilst she persists in her Claim of an exclusive Trade with them, which appears to me to be an over Ballance for all the Protection she has, or can afford us 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 Fishery in the Bay of St. Lawrence, and straights of Belisle which we formerly enjoyed without Interruptions. But perhaps I am mistaken and therefore submit to his better Judgments.

    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 this french Law, which wont much more forcibly conclude in Behalf of these Colonies, that their respective Constitutions and Laws should remain inviolate, and thus Rights and Privileges secured by them upon no Pretence whatever be abridged.549 Where then is the wisdom, the Benevolence and Justice of Parliament; and 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 in Conjunction may now subjugate Us? Forbid it Heaven! Surely the Heart of a Canadian Savage would recoil at the horrid Thought.550

    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? His Lordship’s Letter, I own, has given me both Pleasure and Pain: Pleasure to find him emerging from the Follies and Dis[si]pation of heedless Youth to become a Man of Business and Importance: Pain to think his first political Essays should be opposed to the Sentiments of his Illustrious Uncle whose meaning, whether relatively to the Quebec Bill or this coercing America I apprehend he has intirely mistaken: Whose attachment to the natural and civil Rights of Mankind, as well as his friendly Disposition to his american fellow Subjects are too deeply impressed upon their Minds to be effaced by any thing Lord Littleton has said or can say to the contrary.551 But I must quit the Subject552 to tell you that the Boston news Papers are just come to hand with an Account of his Lordship’s sudden Death. Had he lived I doubt not he would soon have viewed things in a very different Light.

    By the same Conveyance came to hand a Letter from your Sister Lincoln, who ever since you left us, has been rambling to the Eastward as far as Portsmouth, and but just returned. The enclosed bit of Paper, contained in her Letter, will (I doubt not) afford you as much and more heartfelt joy, than it gave me; for which reason I transmit it to you. Your dear Sister Nancy will not be persuaded but that the inclosed Letter of her own inditing and writing will be some amusement to you.

    I forgot to tell you that Sister Betsey had a hearty crying Spell to think she was not worthy to be trusted with the secret of your going: however, she desires to be remembered to you, with her best Wishes for the Recovery of your health, success in your Business and a speedy and safe Return.

    The New Papers will inform you of the Death and Character of Mr. Molineaux who to the last Breath was anxious for the publick safety and it is more than probable, you will hear also of the premature Death of poor Tommy Gray, who a few Days since returning from Plymouth, was overset in his Carriage, broke both the Bones of one of his Legs, and other one bruised so as that his Life is dispaired of.553

    The Reputation of our Friend Mr C—g,554 is greatly and I hear deservedly suffering, on Account of his applying the money he received out ot the Treasury to be remitted for the brass Cannon, to the Discharge of his private Obligations, which, if true, is an infamous breach of Trust.

    Mr. Bowen, who preached to us last Sunday, and lodged with us the ensuing Night, said, Mr. Gordon of Roxbury555 shewed him a Paragraph of a Letter from his Friend in Philadelphia, wherein he tells him, they thought their Speaker Mr Galloway a man of learning and a fine orator, but, that 50 such Heads compounded, would not make a John Adams.556 I hope, for his sake, such an hyperbolical Encomium will never come to his Knowledge. Thus, I have filled my Pages with Currency, down to the 3d of November; and have only Room to add, the affectionate Regards of your good Mamma, joined to those of

    Your unalterably fond Parent J Quincy