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BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF JOHN HANCOCK. The little town of Quincy is much distinguished in the andals of Massachusetts as having given birth to several men, who occupy a large space in its bistory. The United States are indebted to it for two Presidents under the Constitution, and a President of that Congress of patriots, who declared the nation free and independent. Josiah Quincy, who by his zeal, his eloquence, and his attachment to popular rights, is justly ranked among the great men of that day, was a native of this place. Mr. John Hancock was born in this town in 1737. His father was a respectable clergymar, but like most of that profession, was in moderate circumstances as to property. He had, however, an uncle who was a distinguished merchant in Boston, and who placed him at Harvard University, where he was graduated in 1754. After leaving college, he went into the counting house of his uncle to qualify bimself to engage in mercantile business. In 1760, he visited England, and was there at the demise of George second. After his return, and while yet under 30 years of age, he came into one of the most ample fortunes of that day, by the death of his uncle. He served several years as a Selectman of Boston, and, in 1766, was elected a member of the provincial legislature by the inhabitants of that town. Here we find bim associated with James Otis, Samuel Adams, and others, in maintaining the rights of the colonists, against the encroachments of the British government, and the usurpations of the provincial Governor. He was an active and efficient member of that body, and distinguished even among the great men with whom he acted. He is said to bave been principally instrumental in forming associations to prevent the importation of British goods after the government of that nation began to tax them with duties. About this period, an affair happened which served to increase his popularity and importance, though he had little and probably nothing to do with it. A vessel of his lying in Boston was seized by the custom house for an alleged violation of the laws levying duties, and sbe was carried under the guns of an armed ship. This was more than the people of Boston in their then state of excitement could bear, and they rosé upon the officers of the customs, drove them into the castle for protection, and tore down some houses. This riotous conduct on the part of the inhabitants furnished the Govern
or with an apology to station troops in the town to preserve the houses. This measure, which was designed to intimidate and orerawe, produced great excitement and engendered a spirit of bitter hostility between the inhabitants and the troops, and may be considered one of the obvious causes, which led eventually to war. The quarrel for the most part was carried on in threats and opprobrious language, until March, 1770, when a party of citizens snow-balled a party of soldiers in State Street,and the soldiers thereupon fired upon the citizens, killing some and wounding others. This rencontre created great consternation and was called the Boston Massacre. The next day,the inhabitants sent a committee, of which:Mr. Hancock was one,to request the removal of the troops from the town. The Governor evaded the request. On the day following, a new committee of which Mr. Hancock was chairman, was sent for the like purpose, and upon the removal being demanded in the most decided and positive manner, it was acceded to. This unfortunate catastrophe produced a fuperal oration by Mr. Hancock, which is in print, in which he dwells with much zeal and no inconsiderable eloquence upon the despotic power exercised by the British Government and upon the necessity of resistance by the colonists. At or previous to this time, it is said, the British ministry having become acquainted with the influence he had in the province, made very liberal, and tempting offers to him, with the hope of seducing him from the cause of the people, but without success. He had been elected speaker of the house, and repeatedly returned as a counsellor, but was always disapprored by the Governor. His election was now sanctioned but he declined bis seat. Finding that he could not be bought, he was removed by Governor Gage from the office of Captain of the Cadet Company, whereupon the Company returned their standard to the Governor and disbanded themselves.
He and Mr. S. Adams finding themselves insecure in Boston, removed and took lodgings at Lexington; and it is supposed one of the principal objects of the expedition to Lexington and Concord in April, 1775, was to secure the persons of these two gentlemen. They, however, had timely notice of the approach of the troops and made their escape. In the subsequent proclamation of Gen. Gage inviting the people to lay down their arms apd accept a free pardon, he and Mr. S. Adams were excepted as traitors, whose offences were too heinous to be unpunished. In 1774, a provincial congress for Massachusetts was assembled and the people commenced gove erning themselves; of this body he was chosen President.
In 1775, having been elected a delegate to the continental Copgress, he was chosen President of that body, and as such signed the Declaration of ladependence. He presided over the deliberations of this august body with credit to himself, for more than two years, when he was constrained from ill health to resign his seat. Soon afterwards, however, he assisted in forming the admirable Constitution of Massachusetts, and, in 1780, was elected the first Governor under it, and was continued by successive elections in that office, until 1785, when he voluntarily gave place to another for two years, when he was again elected and continued in office until his death, which happened suddeuly, in October, 1793.
Governor Hancock was a man of amiable manners, fond of gay, fashionable, pleasant company. He was liberal and hospitable to a fault, not regarding at any time so much his own interest as the comfort of his friends and the success of the Revolution. As to his at. tainments and qualifications as a statesman, there has been some difference of opinion; but when we consider the extraordinary iimes in which he lived, the station he held among the great men of his time, the new, difficult, and very responsible places which be filled, and filled to great acceptance, we cannot deny to him a fair and just claim to great distinction. We cannot withhold from him the credit of being one of the principal men, who accomplished the Revolution. He lived beloved and died lamented.
The title of doctor was first prefixed to the names of those priests who were sufficiently learned to read, publicly, the writings of Peter Lombard, in the year 1140. In England the degree of doctor was first granted in 1207, in the reign of King John, and in 1384, the University of Oxford first gave a doctor's diploma. In Germany, the title of doctor, was first distinguished from that of naster in 1135, during the reign of the Emperor Lothaire.
Peter Lombard, and one Gilbert Porreus, were the chief divines in the University of Paris, and Gratian, at the College of Bologne, and they first contrived the appellation of doctor, in order to compliment those whom they considered learned in divinity. At first it was customary to address letters to the Seraphic Doctor, Angelic Doctor,--such an one, as the case might be. Monks and Friars in
creased so fast that the title of doctor began to be less respected, till measures were taken to place the business in the hands of cardinals and colleges.
Boston News Letter.
One week ago, we read with some amusement a paragraph relating to cock-fights in New York, little supposing that the literary emporium had also introduced that glorious sport; but it is true. There are no less than five or six dens in Boston, exclusively appropriated to this interesting employment. A man of moderate capacity, and withal, respectability must be destitute of all taste,--a perfect Toby Lumkin, without breeding, who does not take pride at gazing upon a pair of game cocks, in battle array.
Plato taught his disciples, that man was a two legged animal without feathers, which would never have been questioned, had not a waggish Athenian held up a dead cock, divested of his plumage, and exclaimed to the multitude, “ behold Plato's man.” Capt. S—, several years since, who commanded a vessel from this port, attended a cock-fight in London, and was asked if there were game cocks in America ? Yes, said the Captain, we have a breed called the shake-bags. The company were very curious to see one, as be assured them there was one on board his ship, which would clear the coop of any cock in England. Bets to a large amount were immediately made, and Capt. S. produced an American eagle, from a meal bag, which, with one claw, crushed the puny silver spurred hero of the pit, to a jelly. This was no sooner accomplished, than he quickly returned him to the bag again. The ring was in complete consternation at the wonderful strength of the American cock, and would not consent to have him taken away, if money would puchase the surprising fowl. Capt. S. took a generous price, with apparent reluctance, at the same time observing to the crowd that this same bird had twice beaten the British Lion, and left them to enjoy their bargain !
ib. The Plague at Marseilles. One of the greatest difficulties was the removal and interment of the dead. At first, carts had been hired to carry them away, and beggars and vagabonds were employed in the service. These soon fell, and those who followed. them in their offices, soon followed them in their fate. The magistrates then applied to the officers of the gallies, praying for convicts to carry away the dead this prayer was granted, and the convicts were promised their liberty if they survived. The first
supply amounted to 133: these perished in less than a week. Another hundred were granted. In the course of six days they were reduced to 12; and thus in less than a fortnight, out of 233, 221 perished.
Before the commencement of this plague, which certain physicians now call a modification of the typhus, the population of Marseilles was estimated at 90,000 persons. Of these, 40,000 perished; but it spread to Aix, Toulon, and various other places in Provence, and destroyed in all more than 80,000 persons. If the foregoing narrative does not satisfactorily prove that the disease was propagated from person to person, we know not what will. The contagiousness of the measles, scarlet-fever, and hooping cough, certainly does not rest upon stronger evidence; and it will become impossible to prove any disease to be contagious, excepting those which are capable of being communicated by inoculation.
American Literature. The " Belfast Northern Whig," in a very fattering encomium upon the means of education and the general diffusion of knowledge in our country, observes ; " Two hundred periodicals are issued in the States, in addition to the newspapers, which, from being unfettered by a heavy stamp duty, are in the hands of the poorest of the population.” We are aware, that the number of periodicals "published in the States," has been astonishingly increased within a year or two; but we doubt whether it yet amounts to two hundred, though we have not the means at hand for deciding precisely how much this estimate exceeds the truth.
U. S. Literary Gazette. History of Painting in Italy.—Two volumes of the History of Painting in Italy from the period of the revival of the Fine Arts to the end of the eighteenth century, translated from the original Italian of the Abbate Luigi Lanzi, by Thomas Roscoe, Esq. will speedily be published in London; and five volumes demi octavo will complete the set. Truly, it strikes us, that Mr. Roscoe must be a very industrious and persevering man in his literary pursuits. ib.
Protestants in France. A census bas lately been taken of the Protestants in France, and it appears that the whole number is 722,329; of whom 509,348 are Calvinists, and 212,981 are Luther
The former are ministered to by 269 pastors, and the latter by 219.
ib. National Armories.-By a communication made to the House of Representatives of the United States by the Secretary of War, it