Included below, in chronological order, are Josiah Quincy Junior’s surviving letters, those he received as well as those he wrote, the first dating from December 1764, the last from March 1775; newspaper pieces printed between 1768 and 1774 that have been attributed to him, either in his lifetime or later by his granddaughter, Eliza Susan Quincy; his one published pamphlet, the 1774 Observations; and a handful of letters written by others about him that are useful in painting his portrait. Nearly all of the letters are housed in the Massachusetts Historical Society library, as part of the Quincy, Wendell, Holmes and Upham Family Papers, in a box marked QP 51. The vast majority of them were later reproduced on microfilm (on reels 28–30 of the 67 reel collection, under P-347 at the MHS). Those that were not are indicated below; likewise those that are in other collections. It appears that the bulk of Josiah Junior’s writings ended up with the MHS because of Eliza Susan Quincy, who, in 1884, the year she died, donated many of the manuscripts relating to her grandfather that she gathered over a lifetime. She had placed her two volume “Memoir” of the Quincy family—QP 45 and 46 in the collection noted above (reel 6 in the film version)—with the MHS for safekeeping fourteen years before. She stipulated in her bequest that the “Memoir” never be loaned to anyone outside the MHS library. There it remains with the other materials she donated, after having been bound on the eve of World War I. Volume 1 eventually came apart; volume 2 is still intact.

    Reading through the letters, it will become obvious how few pieces from a once extensive correspondence have been passed down to the present.49 Indeed, some items that Eliza Susan Quincy used in writing the “Memoir” between 1822 and 1824 did not make it to the MHS and their whereabouts are now unknown—to me, at least, and various archivists and librarians I have pestered over the years in my quest to find them. Eliza Susan pasted a few letters into her handwritten “Memoir” but others that she transcribed have since disappeared. Those transcriptions fill many of the pages of the biography that her father had published under his name in 1825—under his name, because she demurred in using her own—as the Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy, Junior, of Massachusetts: 1744–1775. As in Volume 1 of this series, I cited the second edition released in 1874, which was much expanded from the original text. Apparently Eliza Susan had the drafts of all the newspaper essays that she attributed to Josiah Junior, some of which she quoted at length in both her handwritten “Memoir” and in the printed Memoir. None—not a single one—is now to be found.

    Eliza Susan Quincy edited some of the letters that she transcribed for her “Memoir,” which were later printed in the Memoir, quite heavily. I too have done some editing, with a lighter touch but for the same purpose. Eliza Susan did not want readers to think that Josiah Junior’s language was sloppy or that he was in any sense unlearned in its use. She therefore sometimes changed noun/verb relations so that they conformed to the then-current usage; she likewise altered the spelling and substituted different words for those whose connotation had changed over time. Occasionally she excised entire paragraphs and, yes, in a few instances she bowdlerized the text for one reason or another. Only she could say precisely why, and she did not.

    I followed the same editorial guidelines as I did in the first volume. To repeat here what I explained there, when Quincy used as a shorthand the runic thorns “ye” for the and “yt” for that, I substituted the fuller forms; likewise with “yr” for your and “shoud” for should, as well as other shortened words. Quincy’s contemporaries would not have stumbled over the informal shorthand; modern readers might and thereby lose the import of what Quincy said, as well as the style in which he said it. Quincy often underlined words in his letters that he wanted to emphasize. Here those underlines have been turned into italics. I also substituted “and” where he (and his correspondents) had written “&.” Words that he habitually misspelled (writing “beleive” rather than “believe” is one notable example) or misconstructed (writing the contraction “it’s” where he should have used the possessive pronoun “its”) I corrected silently. His punctuation often differed from current standards, particularly in the use of colons and semi-colons, and even commas and periods. He and his correspondents used dashes as substitutes for all of them. I edited punctuation that could prove too jarring to modern readers. Therefore I kept a few of those dashes, but only where they seemed to be intended for a particular emphasis. Words that Quincy and his correspondents left out inadvertently, I inserted in brackets. Quincy and his correspondents varied how they dated their letters and quite often signed them with abbreviated names. I moved dates that came at the end to the beginning, but did not otherwise alter them, or the signatures at the end.

    As in the previous volume, I did not aim for a perfect consistency, making all that Quincy wrote conform to modern standards. In some places he wrote “public” and in others “publick”; I let those differences stand. He capitalized as he saw fit, as was the convention of his age. I let that stand too, except in instances where he put the first letter of a word in lower case at the beginning of a sentence.

    What I have explained to this point applies to manuscript letters. I did not change the grammar, punctuation or spelling of Quincy’s pamphlet and newspaper pieces. I also kept the emphasis where Quincy placed it on certain words or phrases, but I could not duplicate precisely, in either the size or type of font, the form that the emphasis took. Without the manuscript originals before me I could not tell how or even if printers Benjamin Edes and John Gill altered the prose in Quincy’s newspaper essays. The manuscript original to Quincy’s pamphlet does survive and shows an author’s careful attention to detail—one word larger than another or capitalized for emphasis, and full passages underlined to stand apart. Edes and Gill followed the author’s directions for the pamphlet; presumably they did for the newspaper pieces as well. From here, Josiah Quincy Junior can speak for himself.