Appendix III


editor’s note

Daniel R. Coquillette

Imagine my excitement when I was contacted, on December 10, 2005, by David R. Whitesell, the distinguished Rare Book Cataloger at Harvard’s Houghton Library. He told me that the manuscript loan register for 1762‒1764 of the Harvard College Library contained a list of all the books Josiah Quincy Jr. borrowed during his senior year, from Sept. 1762‒July 1763. According to Whitesell, this is “the earliest surviving circulation record documenting how students and faculty actually used an American college library,” and he is preparing a paper on the amazing resource.1

What the list tells us about Quincy is both illuminating and almost painfully private. It confirms his broad interest in classics, literature, and history, noted many times above. Quincy had a special interest in international law, evidenced by his borrowing Samuel von Pufendorf’s De jure naturae et gentium libri octo (Amsterdam, 1688) and Hugo Grotius’s De jure belli ac pacis libri tres (Amsterdam, 1651). He also borrowed Michel de Montaigne’s famous Essays (trans. Michael Lord of Montaigne, London, 1613), and Edward Hyde Clarendon’s great The history of the rebellion and civil wars in England (Oxford, 1707) books that foretell the young statesman and jurist as well. Finally, there was also evidence of Quincy’s dogged ill health and his youthful fears in the medical books he borrowed, and a touching interest in poetry.

Needless to say, I am particularly grateful to David R. Whitesell for this discovery. He also prepared this list, and the learned description of the books, which he generously permits us to reproduce here.

Note: The “Catalogue of Books Belonging to the Estate of Josiah Quincy, jun. Esq: Deceas’d (1775)” will be published as Appendix 9 to Volume 5 of this series, The Reports. The catalogue of 1775 makes an interesting comparison to the books taken out by the student of 1762‒1763, although Quincy’s tragically early death makes all of these lists the reading of a young man.2