Josiah Quincy's 1844 Visit with Joseph Smith

Josiah Quincy's 1844 Visit with Joseph Smith
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Josiah Quincy's 1844 Visit with Joseph Smith

Author Jed L. Woodworth

Few traveler accounts are better known to Latter-day Saints than Josiah Quincy's. Massachusetts legislator, son of a Harvard president, and later the mayor of Boston, Quincy and his cousin, Charles Francis Adams, son of former US president John Quincy Adams, spent a day with Joseph Smith in Nauvoo in the spring of 1844 while sight-seeing along the Mississippi River. Quincy wrote up his experience and published it in a New York literary magazine nearly forty years later. In his account, Quincy used language rarely seen in non-Mormon descriptions of Joseph Smith, calling Joseph "extraordinary," "remarkable," even "kingly"—all words latter day saints would have used to describe their prophet. This article includes a transcript of Josiah Quincy's May 16, 1844 letter to his wife describing the visit.