Josiah Quincy Jr.’s Southern Journal (1773)

    Daniel R. Coquillette

    This new transcription and edition of Josiah Quincy Jr.’s extraordinary southern adventure has been an adventure in itself. My fellow travelers have been my exceptional research assistants: Michael H. Hayden, Boston College Law School Class of 2004, Nicole Scimone, Boston College Law School Class of 2005, Susannah B. Tobin, Harvard Law School Class of 2004, and Elizabeth Papp Kamali, Harvard Law School Class of 2007. Michael Hayden also provided the transcription, which is a true labor of love, and many of the annotations. Without all this great effort, the project would have been impossible. All in all, this was a team effort, and it has been a privilege to work with such outstanding young people.

    The manuscript of the Southern Journal is at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston in the Quincy, Wendell, Holmes and Upham Family Papers (hereafter “Quincy Papers”) microfilm P-347, Reel 3, Ms. QP-61, JQII. It was first printed in Josiah Quincy, Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy Jun. (1st ed., Boston, 1825), pp. 73–141 (hereafter “Memoir”), a book actually prepared in most part by Quincy’s granddaughter, Eliza Susan Quincy (1798–1884), but published under her father’s name. Eliza prepared a second edition in 1874, in which the Southern Journal appears at pp. 56–111. Both of these versions are unreliable, Eliza having excised important material. As she noted: “Some of his particular observations, from the familiarity of our present intercourse, might appear trite and uninteresting, and will be omitted, as also will be, for the most part, all those particular strictures on the nature of the population of the southern colonies, which was most likely to make the deepest impression on an inhabitant of the northern, and by which a stranger, of his turn of mind, could not fail to be peculiarly affected.” See Memoir, supra, pp. 72–73. Needless to say, these omissions include particularly interesting material! Eliza also omitted important materials from Quincy’s letter to his wife of March 1, 1773, from Charleston. See Memoir, supra, pp. 71–73, 2d ed., pp. 73–96. For a full account of Eliza Quincy’s literary activity, see Neil L. York’s “Prologue” and “The Making of a Patriot: A Life Cut Short” at pp. 10–11, 15 in volume 1 of this series, Portrait of a Patriot: The Major Political and Legal Papers of Josiah Quincy Jr. (hereafter “Quincy Papers”).

    The Southern Journal has only been published once before in an unexpurgated version, by the legendary Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. XLIX (October 1915–June 1916), pp. 426–481 (hereafter, “Howe, Proceedings, 1915–1916”). Howe, who was related to the Quincy family by marriage, also transcribed Quincy’s London Journal, an account of his voyage to London in 1774–1775, which has been newly edited for these volumes by my co-editor, Neil Longley York, in Volume 1 of the Quincy Papers, supra. Professor York has included a compelling short biography of Howe at Volume 1, pp. 219–221, which I will not attempt to repeat here.

    This new transcription and edition of the Southern Journal was done directly from the manuscript, and is more accurate than the earlier version. Where, however, Howe’s annotations proved valuable, they have been retained, with citations to the Proceedings.

    Such a massive project would have been impossible without the extraordinary efforts of the transcriber, Michael H. Hayden, Esq., Boston College Law School Class of 2004 and Member of the Massachusetts bar. In so many ways, Mr. Hayden was the ideal student, research assistant, and colleague. Enthusiastic, original, and thorough, he has an exceptional historical sense and a taste for grinding hard work. The quality and care of the transcription, which, unlike Howe’s, reproduces each page of the manuscript, is a labor of love. Further, Mr. Hayden provided a large number of the annotations and illustrations, with this co-editor taking responsibility for the rest, together with any errors. Mr. Hayden’s Transcriber’s Foreword, which follows, gives only a brief glimpse of his scholarship and dedication.

    I should also again acknowledge the loyal and intelligent assistance of Susannah Tobin, Harvard Law School Class of 2004, who provided the Latin translations, Elizabeth Kamali, Harvard Law School Class of 2007, who reviewed them, and Nicole Scimone, Boston College Law School Class of 2005, who labored long and hard to supplement the annotations and to locate the many wonderful illustrations. As always, it has been an exceptional pleasure to work with my co-editor, Neil Longley York, Karl G. Maeser Professor at Brigham Young University and Chair of the History Department, and John W. Tyler, Editor of Publications to the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and Chair of the History Department at Groton. They are both gentlemen and scholars in every sense of the word. Finally, special thanks are due to that great institution and guardian of our nation’s history, the Massachusetts Historical Society, its exceptional Librarian, Peter Drummey, and to the Quincy family, who have taken a close interest in this project.


    The text has been reproduced as closely as possible to the manuscript itself, with each page printed as it appears in the manuscript. This is a major improvement on the expurgated, if not censored, version of Eliza Quincy and on Howe’s transcription. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Michael H. Hayden, we have Quincy’s original page numbering, and the important distinction between Quincy’s text and the margin notes. Each line corresponds exactly to the lines in the original. See Michael Hayden’s Transcriber’s Foreword, infra, for his sensitive treatment of spelling and abbreviations.

    Where useful, some of Howe’s annotations have been retained, with a citation to “Howe, Proceedings, 1915–1916,” but the notes have been greatly expanded and brought up-to-date. Howe actually annotated the Southern Journal very lightly compared to his edition of the London Journal, with 97 notes over 55 pages for the former, and 176 notes over 37 pages for the latter. This new edition has 327 notes and 24 illustrations, plus an index.

    The Transcriber’s Foreword also discusses the mystery of the missing pages 125 and 126, which were cut out by a blade. Quincy also crossed out lines at pages 81 and 92, and left blanks on pages 138 (where he could not recall a name), on page 155 (where he did not wish to enter Benjamin Franklin’s name), on page 159 (where he could not recall the first name of a “Dr. Cox”), and on page 164, in the middle of a discussion of Pennsylvania’s politics. These blanks are all indicated where they occur in the original manuscript. There are also some most interesting later inserts, ably discussed by Michael Hayden in the Transcriber’s Foreword, infra.