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JOHN LOWELL (1743-1802)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 76 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN LOWELL (1743-1802), American jurist, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on the 17th of June 1743, and was a son of the Reverend John Lowell, the first pastor of Newburyport, and a descendant of Perceval Lowle or Lowell (1571-1665), who emigrated from Somersetshire to Massachusetts Bay in 1639 and was the founder of the family in New England. John Lowell graduated at Harvard in 176o, was admitted to the bar in 1763, represented Newburyport (1776) and Boston (1778) in the Massachusetts Assembly, was a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1779-1780 and, as a member of the committee appointed to draft a constitution, secured the insertion of the clause, " all men are born free and equal," which was interpreted by the supreme court of the state in 1783 as abolishing slavery in the state. In 1781-1783 he was a member of the Continental Congress, which in 1782 made him a judge of the court of appeals for admiralty cases; in 1784 he was one of the commissioners from Massachusetts to settle the boundary line between Massachusetts and New York; in 1789-1801 he was a judge of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts; and from 18o' until his death in Roxbury on the 6th of May 1802 he was a justice of the U.S. Circuit Court for the First Circuit (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island). His son, JOHN LOWELL (1769-1840), graduated at Harvard in 1786, was admitted to the bar in 1789 (like his father, before he was twenty years old), and retired from active practice in 1803. He opposed French influence and the policies of the Democratic party, writing many spirited pamphlets (some signed " The Boston Rebel," some " The Roxbury Farmer "), including: The Antigallican (1797), Remarks on the Hon. J. Q. Adams's Review of Mr Ames's Works (1809), New England Patriot, being a Candid Comparison of the Principles and Conduct of the Washington and Jefferson Administrations (181o), Appeals to the People on the Causes and Consequences of War with Great Britain (1811) and Mr Madison's War (1812). These pamphlets contain an extreme statement of the anti-war party and defend impressment as a right of long standing. After the war Lowell abandoned politics, and won for himself the title of " the Columella of New England " by his interest in agriculture—he was for many years president of the Massachusetts Agricultural Society. He was a benefactor of the Boston Athenaeum and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Another son of the first John Lowell, FRANCIS CABOT LOWELL (1775-1817), the founder in the United States of cotton manufacturing, was born in Newburyport on the 7th of April 1775, graduated at Harvard in 1793, became a merchant in Boston, and, during the war of 1812, with his cousin (who was also his brother-in-law), Patrick Tracy Jackson, made use of the knowledge of cotton-spinning gained by Lowell in England (whither he had gone for his health in 181o) and devised a power 1814. Lowell worked hard to secure a protective tariff on cotton goods. The city of Lowell, Massachusetts, was named in his honour. He died in Boston on the loth of August 1817.
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