Talk:James Bowdoin

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April 28, 2012Good article nomineeListed
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About the name[edit]

Technically, by modern usage, James was a James Bowdoin, Jr. but I find no record that he ever used the name. I did find one letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Bowdoin, Jr. But, Jefferson apparetly intended it for James Bowdoin, III and he corrected the mistake in later correspondence.

Results of 2nd Continental Congress election - Bowdoin vs. Hancock[edit]

John Hancock was the Prez. of the 2nd Continental Congress, but apparently during elections, James Bowdoin garnered 2nd place. I didn't see this specific information in the article.


Actually, the election mentioned there is the 1st Massachusetts governor's race, when Hancock defeated Bowdoin. Bowdoin was not a candidate for the president of the Continental Congress, as he did not attend due to illness. (His position was taken in the Congress, incidentally, by Hancock.) —Kevin Myers 14:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Discrepancy in Date of Birth[edit]

This article cites two different dates as James Bowdoin's date of birth, in two different years. I've found websites with both dates referenced, and I'm no scholar on James Bowdoin. So, someone who is might want to correct this problem. --Elnok (talk) 18:14, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

The article now cites one date: August 7, 1726, which is the date given by Bowdoin's modern biographer Gordon E. Kershaw in the American National Biography. Presumably this is the old-style date. The birthdate of August 8, 1727, appears in some 19th century sources that have found their way onto the Internet. Kershaw perhaps sorts this out in a footnote in his biography. —Kevin Myers 01:08, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:James Bowdoin/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Secret (talk · contribs) 23:35, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm going to start the review tonight, as I'm finishing up at work, so once I come home I will comment. I read through the article and he was an extremely interesting person but there's some areas of his life mentioned here that left me a bit confused. Thanks Secret account 23:35, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

  • "He authored a highly political report on the 1770 Boston Massacre that has been described as one of the most influential pieces of writing that shaped public opinion in the colonies." It only mentions Walett discussing that point of view in the main body. Can you find some more authors/historians that shares the same opinion, if not mention Walett in the lead, as he was an highly respected historian concerning New England in the Revolutionary War. Fixed - mention Walett in lead Magic♪piano 14:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • he won election - should be he was elected Fixed Magic♪piano 14:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • What did Bowdin's father do to make him one of the wealthiest men in the province? Added explanation Magic♪piano 14:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • may have met Benjamin Franklin as early as 1743 source? and anything on how he met Franklin?
    • I think the details on how they came to know each other are sketchy (and something Franklin's many biographers seem to avoid). Manuel cites Kershaw (whose work I have only inconvenient access to) as indicating they may have met when Franklin was in Boston in 1743. It seems (IMO) unlikely that Bowdoin would have gone to Philadelphia in 1750 without already knowing Franklin. Magic♪piano 14:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • frequent collaborators and correspondents - something is missing there, you can't collaborate with someone and correspond (write) to each other at the same time, unless you are collaborating with Franklin by writing to him - reword or explain
    • The relationship was primarily epistolary (I don't believe Bowdoin left Massachusetts after the 1750 trip to Philadelphia), but they shared ideas, equipment, and books. I can add words making this clearer if you think it necessary. Magic♪piano 18:44, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • but verse in both English and Latin. verse like poetry? Changed "verse" to "poetry" Magic♪piano 18:44, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "Although at first supportive of the royal governor" - Any reason why?
    • Not specifically. He first entered politics in the 1750s, before the politics of the revolution took off. (Many of the Boston elite who nominally belonged to the "country party" remained moderate or conciliatory in their views for some time; worried about the consequences of radicalism on trade.) Magic♪piano 01:20, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "Bowdoin's son in law, was embroiled in nasty disputes" - what kind?
    • Personal and professional. Temple disapproved of what he saw as Bernard's money-grubbing, and was further annoyed when Bernard got a post in Ireland that Temple also sought. The disagreement and mutual dislike (which spilled over into the Hutchinson administration) was apparently quite visceral, but it's complicated enough that I didn't want to elaborate on it. Magic♪piano 18:44, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "Bowdoin was chosen by the Boston town meeting to serve on a committee that investigated the affair" - awkward prose how can a person be chosen "by" a town meeting, they could be chosen "in a" or by the Boston town counsel.
    • Town meetings make lots of decisions. Appointing committee members is one of them. The town meeting voted, it is its decision and no one elses. I fail to see why this is awkward. (I've linked town meeting to help.) Magic♪piano 18:44, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
      • I see what you mean. I misapplied the word there, because the wording sounds like he was chosen by the "meeting", the meeting word threw me off. But the wikilink explains it. I apologize Thanks Secret account 23:03, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "Both she and Bowdoin suffered from symptoms now recognized as those of tuberculosis, and a bout of poor health on her part at the time also affected him?" If she suffered from tuberculosis symptoms what other poor health she had? Also it was mentioned that she had poor health in the previous sentence so it's redundant the second part of the sentence. "Both she and Bowdoin suffered from symptoms now recognized as those of tuberculosis, which affected his health" somewhere along those lines.
  • although his absence from the war effort would lead to later political difficulties. Here it doesn't mention his absence caused political difficulties other than a brief mention discussing the 1780 race.
    • Well, that is what it's referring to, although I believe it may have been raised again in the contentious 1785 election. (How much of an impact all of this political sliming had is debatable, given the wide margins by which Hancock won his elections.) I've added an explicit connection to his illness in the bit on the 1780 race. Magic♪piano 15:47, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "as a foppish demagogue who pandered to the populace" - Is it a quote? If it is mention it and some wikilinks would be nice, I'm lost in the meaning.
    • Not a quote, my own summation. I've added links. Magic♪piano 15:47, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "Hancock appointed him to a commission to revise and consolidate the state's laws" - was that after he declined lieutenant governor after his defeat?
    • Yes; I've added a clause. Magic♪piano 01:20, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
  • little detail about Bowdoin's rivalry with Hancock. Sentences like "The two men were both involved in the administration of Harvard, and frequently crossed swords in its boards and councils" Needs to be further expanded to better explain the rivalry, as it played a major part of his political career. reword "crossing swords" as well.
    • I've expanded on the Harvard-based rivalry. Magic♪piano 13:46, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "Hancock somewhat abruptly resigned" You can't "somewhat" abruptly resigned. Expanded Hancock was playing a game, and his bluff was called. Magic♪piano 01:20, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "the recently established Sans Souci social club.." Link or further explanation, as it was the first time being mentioned also expand some of his other important platforms, a "social club" shouldn't be the main reason why he was running for governor.
    • I've expanded on this a bit. The episode was a bit of a flash in the pan, but it was apparently one of the issues of the day. Magic♪piano 13:46, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "unlike governors in neighboring Connecticut and New Hampshire" were they dealing with rebellion like Massachusetts?
    • There were similar acts of protest against some courts in those two states. The point is that they acted decisively in the early stages of protest while Bowdoin did not, so there was no "rebellion" per se. Magic♪piano 15:47, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
  • The article went from "no overt steps to immediately organize a militia response" to "no longer trust local militias in the western counties" Did Bowdoin ever organized the state militia and they did something to lose his trust? Doesn't explain
    • I think I overclipped material I took from Shays' Rebellion. I've added a sentence that sheds light on why he couldn't trust the militia. Magic♪piano 02:20, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "bringing a skeptical Samuel Adams and his supporters by inviting him.." Confusing, bringing him to what? The dinner? If that's the case a word needs to be removed. Fixed there was indeed a clause missing.
  • "Bowdoin's funeral was one of the largest and grandest Boston had known" needs a source, and a bit more explanation on why it was the "grandest" Rephrased to temper the claim, and sourced. Magic♪piano 01:20, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

I added some comments above earlier today. All the images are free, sources are reliable, very minor issues with prose which I've mentioned (though I can't really comment on grammatical prose or MoS), but there's some comprehensive issues that I mentioned that needs to be fixed in this article. It looks like some important events in his life such as the feud with Hancock aren't fully explained. I will put this review On hold. Thanks Secret account 00:15, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your detailed review; I'll be working on these issues over the next few days. Magic♪piano 16:15, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Ok passed. Thanks Secret account 04:45, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! Magic♪piano 20:46, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

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Discrepancy in wife's name[edit]

This article cites two different names as James Bowdoin's wife: Isabella and Elizabeth. I'm no scholar on James Bowdoin. So, someone who is might want to correct this problem. --Unclepea — Preceding undated comment added 17:43, 19 November 2020 (UTC)

The name in the infobox was clearly wrong. Magic♪piano 21:51, 19 November 2020 (UTC)