6 April 1773204

    No. Carolina Apr. 6th 1773 Edenton

    Dear and respected Brother,

    Engagements and considerations not worth enumerating have prevented a transmission of that knowledge of my wellfare and adventures which would please the Brother and amuse the friend. An account of my passage has reached Boston, and, previous to your reception of this, Mrs. Q will be able to relate how far my excursion has already proved salutary and promises future success. Indeed, if an entire ease and hilarity of mind, together with a delightfull temperature of air and moderate exercise can give me health, I shall obtain that mighty boon. If I had not experienced the effect, I should scarce have believed it possible, for one of my turn and past life so speedily to become that man of carelessness and pleasure. Horace has said caelum non animum mutant qui trans currunt205 and therefore you may perhaps be obliged to exercise your faith in order to credit me: but I am incapable of self-sensation and discernment, if the fact is not thus. Not however that I am altogether the Idler, or the man of dissipation and intemperance: we may enjoy true ease and chearfullness, and be neither one or the other. It is natural to a man of sense and enquiry to desire some information of the laws, constitution and police of countries he can not visit in person, with some account of the variances which are observable in the customs, manners and improvements of the Inhabitants. As far as my power extends I would gladly gratify your expectations from me. But to say all on this subject that I would chuse (if I say any thing) will exceed the limits of a Letter, if not those of your patience. Having, however, near finished my tour through the Carolinas, I may hazard a general, and in some measure a comparative view of North and South province, to one who will consider the necessary defects of a brief sketch and will in brotherly love be lenient towards deficiencies of a more capital nature.

    The genius of the South Carolinian seems much confined; whether by nature, education or some other cause may be doubtfull: but I believe Dame Nature is not only a bounteous, but a pretty even handed dispenser. Their taste is more delighted with salt and spices, with the goblet and the Cup, with magnificence and splendor, with equipages and the turff, than with enquiries, disquisition, and improvements of the severe, liberal, and enlarged kind:—nay according to my observations, than even with engagements and pursuits of the softer and more enlivening sort. In short, Bacchus, nay a Bucephalus, is in this climate a more influential being, than a Venus or Apollo. But though the glass circles in quick revolutions I saw little of that exuberanic hilarity and roar which are so incident to a Northern festival and entertainment: indeed in point of genuine vivacity and fire the Northern Bells and Sparks surpass those of the South whose point and blaze seem exhausted or extinguished by a warmer sun. Should you tell me that my ruling planet at the North so extended its polar influence; that I was but a poor or blind observer of the meteors and luminaries of the South, I will readily accede to an imputation that pays a complement to my virtue, though at the expense of my judgment.

    It is not be wondered at then, that politicks becomes an uninteresting theme, that discourses on law, government and civil society give place to a conversation of Rice, indigo, Negroes and horses:—the bottle oftener revolves round the table than a sentimental story or burst of wit and humour: Gallantry and the delights of Venus are more the employment of Baccanalian loquacity, than of Carolinean pursuit and vigour: neither is this incompatible with a former remark, for the voluptuary who talks much of intrigue and women does not always follow an amour with the most perseverance or push an address with the greatest activity.

    Little more than an imaginary, mathematical line parts the two Carolinas, but one would be induced to think from the different appearance of men and things, that—“Eden roll’d between, and mountains interven’d.”206

    The face of most here is quite changed—comparatively little splendor or show—more solidity and real improvement. The political pulse beats high, and men of taste and sense came to redouble in number and strength. Small talk and the lighter Conversation is supplanted by nobler and more worthy engagements. Industry is risen and labor is at work in the woods and fields. Agriculture is carried to higher perfection, flocks and herds increase, and greater equality and social happiness is diffused abroad. The natural concomitants of all this is easily conjectured: freedom of thought, inquisitive dispositions, a more general flourishing in arts and sciences. I need not now say, which country pleased my fancy, and had the preference in my heart.

    But I must wave a subject which will lead me into thorny and dangerous paths; and should certainly suppress the effusions already written, if I did not remember, that an only Brother has a claim to a considerable share in my pleasures and confidence, and will make no use of my remarks injurious to me or prejudicial to the good fame of a country where I experienced much civility and politeness.

    I need not say, that general observations like general rules must be allowed their exceptions, neither would I be understood as speaking decisively upon matters of which is probably I am no competent judge: but as giving to a friend those impressions and sentiments which in a reversal of circumstances I should wish to receive from him.

    Present me in the bonds of love and esteem to your worthy Consort, and tell your little ones that I remember them with the feelings of affection:—and accept my wishes for them and you, as those of a real friend and Brother,

    J Quincy junr.

    PS. Tell Sister Q I have as yet seen no table surpass her’s in true elegance and taste:—several in richness of glass and china, and magnificence of plate:—and but one in point of gratification to the palate.—Mrs. Hill who happened to be a guest promised to send a small edition of recipes.