3 January 1775674

    January 3d 1775

    Dear Son,

    I have wrote two long Letters to you since your Departure, the last of which, for want of a safe Conveyance is I suppose now in Boston.

    Yesterday your Fathers Partners, after keeping us in Suspence about an hour and half, presented Us with the most valuable (the Spanish Prize675 not excepted) and therefore the most welcome new years Gift, I ever received: The doubly joyfull News of your safe Arrival in England, and your Health restored; confirmed by two Letters to your Wife (but not a Line to your dear Papa). May that all perfect Being who has bestowed such inestimable Blessings upon Us, impress our Minds with a correspondent gratefull Sense of them, manifested by a constant Exertion of our rational Powers, in Pursuit of their proper Objects.

    It is now about 6 Weeks, since your Wife, and my dear little grandSon returned to Boston, after a short Visit of 3 or 4 Weeks. If I thought the Relation could entertain you, as much as the Action did me, I would fill the Remainder of this Sheet, with a minute Detail of those little Tricks and Arts, by which he discovered such natural Endowments, both of Body and Mind, as if duely cultivated, by a truely liberal Education, bid fair to render him an eminently usefull Member of Society, which he certainly will be, if the Petition of my Prayers is granted.676

    No sooner were the Results of the Continental and provincial Congresses published to the World, than the Presses from South to North, have labored and been delivered of ennumerable Productions in Opposition to and Defence of them: all which, will doubtless be transmitted to you, in News Papers and single Pamphlets. However, I cant deny my Self this Pleasure of noticing one said to be wrote by your Friend G___ l L ___, which has afforded great Relief to the Minds of those who entertained, most fearfull Apprehensions of an open Rupture with the Parent State.677

    The Officers of the Army, and their Friends, have carefully concealed the Diminution of their Forces both by Death and Desertion; but it is well known, that, so great a Number have died, out of the still Houses that were hired for Barracks, as to occasion their being removed to other Places: And by the Numbers of Deserters, that have been seen and spoke with, all over N[ew] E[ngland] as well as to the southward, there is great Reason to believe, there will be scarce enough left to mount Guards when the season for Action arrives. This, if true, will surely confound the Devices and frustrate the hostile Attempts of our Enemies. The Circumstances, relative to the Removal of the Cannon, from the Fort at great Island in New Hampshire Government from New Port, and New London, you will receive a particular Account of in the News Papers; which in that Respect may be depended on.

    Our Friend Mr G[oldthwai] t678 tells me his Endeavours to obtain a recommendatory Letter from Lord P[erc]y were unsuccessful which perhaps by this Time you may no great Reason to regret, as it is generally thought, his Abilities or his Connections do not render his Influence very extensive.679

    I should have told you before, that we were no sooner relieved from our Anxiety about your safe Arrival, and the Recovery of your Health, than our Concern commenced, or rather revived to know, you were safe Arrived in London, and what Reception you met with from the Court and City: Whether your Enemies are to be gratifyd by mob Persecutions, or your Friends, by the Esteem and Honor with which they hope to hear you are received and entertained not only by those Friends to whom you was recommended, but all those Friends to Liberty and the Rights of Mankind, who may honor you with their Acquaintance and Friendship.

    You will readily believe me when I tell you we are all, whether Whigs or Tories, quite solicitous to hear, how the new Parliament opens: what the King’s Sentiments are relative to american Affairs; how many new Members have obtained Seats in the House of Commons, because they are esteemed Enemies to Despotism, and Friends to Liberty; whether they are like to gain a Majority by being above Corruption? Or whether for Want of a sufficient Number of inflexible Patriots, the publick Affairs of the Nation are, as has been often foretold, running headlong to Ruin, and the Enemies of the British Constitution in its Purity, are likely to succeed, in their Endeavours for its Subversion?

    In one of my former Letters I acquainted you with the premature Deaths of Mr. T. Gray who left a very handsome Estate, which he judiciously distributed amongst his near Relations.680 I am now to inform you of the sudden Death of our Sister Marsh the 8th Instant who left her disconsolate Husband as sincere a Mourner, as, perhaps, ever lost a Wife.681 May God! Of his infinite Mercy prepare us both for that Seperation from each other, which must sooner or later take Place; indeed, so violent has been the Return of the chronicle Disorders under which I labor, that for more than this fortnight past I almost dispared of Life but, I thank God, I am now much better. Your Wife, her Sisters, her Brother and his Wife with some of Mr. Mason’s Family, were to dine with Us last Tuesday, had not Sister Marsh’s Death prevented. Speaking of Mr. Mason’s Family puts me in mind to tell you, of his Brothers Death in Newport about 3 Weeks since.682

    You must excuse my rambling from one thing to another: Mr. W___ d brings Intelligence from Boston, that the Seamen on board the Fleet are grown mutinous. That one of them was hanged at the Yard Arm a few Days since. That his Body was sent by 4 men who thought Trustworthy in a Boat to be buried in one of the Islands but they all run off and left the Corpse and Boat when they landed. That one of the Navy Officers, meeting with a Land Officer at K[nox]‘s Shop, told him that on board all the Ships, their Men were grown so uneasy and tumultuous, that it was with great Difficulty they could govern them. Upon which the Land Officer observed, “that the uneasiness among the Soldiers was full as great or greater than among the Seamen.683 With how much Truth I can’t say, but, it has been currently reported for this fortnight past, that the Arms of the 10th Regiment have been taken from them, and locked up every Night: and that the Marine’s distributed in Barracks at the North End, have absolutely refused to do Duty as they are neither paid nor fed according to Contract. That the Discipline in both Departments is so Severe, and the Duty and Service so disagreable, the Impatience both of Seamen and Soldiers is every Day more and more visible and extensive, and it has been repeatedly hinted, that many of the Officers, as they become more acquainted with the Merits of the Cause they are engaged in, discover great Uneasiness.

    If it was certainly known, that, an open Rupture was to take place in the Spring, there could not be more Diligence or greater Application, in studying the Science of War, than there is at present throughout N.E. And I believe through the Continent, which, surely must convince the M[inistr]y, that not only an immense Treasure, but Rivers of Blood must be expended, before the Spirit, of freeborn Americans can be made to submit, to parliamentary Legislation, and submissively bow their Necks to the Yoke of Bondage, their fellow Subjects in Power have prepared for them.

    Pray make my affectionate friendly Regards acceptable to good Dr. F[ranklin] and Alderman Tanner and any other Friends who are kind enough to remember and ask after Me.

    I can’t express how near your Interest, your Health and your Happiness lyes to my Heart, nor how ardently I wish my longing Eyes may be blessed with the joyfull Sight of you, before they are closed in everlasting Darkness and the dear Relation is anihilated between you and

    Your unalterably affectionate Parent

    Josiah Quincy

    PS. All present join in wishing you the Return of many happy new Years.