Josias von Qualen - Baron

Personal data
Born 1742
Died October 29, 1819
at Itzehoe
Baron von Qualen

A Holstein nobleman, son of Josias von Qualen and Elisabeth Blome. Married (1772) to Ulrikke Frederikke Vilhelmine von Rumohr (1751-1802).

From his 7th to his 10th year, he was privately educated by Johann Bernhard Basedow (1723-1790), whose first pupil he was. He studied law in Utrecht (1762-1763) and afterwards spent two years at the University in Leipzig, where he reportedly became a favourite of Gellert's.1

Following his stay in Leipzig, he returned to Holsten, where he became, in 1767, a grand ducal landsrat and a judge on the Holstein court of session, which assembled in Kiel, Glückstadt and Rensburg. Upon the transfer of the grand ducal parts of Holstein to the Danish throne in 1773, von Qualen followed Duke Friedrich August (1711-1785) to Oldenburg but later moved to Kiel where he stayed for 10 years. Upon the death of his mother in 1783 he inherited his ancestral home of Borghorst but sold it in 1800 to Jørgen Ahlefeldt (1748-1823).

In the early years of the 19th century he lived in Hamburg, and in 1808 was awarded the Grand Cross of Dannebrog. From 1809 to 1818 he was the Convent Provost in Uetersen and Patron for the noble convent Itzehoe. In 1816 he was called to Copenhagen to participate in the newly created Constitutional Commission, and upon his departure from that city was awarded the Order of the Elephant, the highest order of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Josias von Qualen died at Itzehoe on October 29, 1819.

  • 1. Main source for this biography is Dansk Biografisk Lexikon, vol. XIII (1887-1905), p. 318-319
Life with Boswell

Boswell visited von Qualen at Leipzig on October 6, 1764, describing him as “my old friend at Utrecht” - strangely, Qualen does not appear in [BIH], but it must be remembered that almost the entire journal from his stay in Holland went missing after Boswell left the country in 1764.

Boswell and Qualen spent the morning and some of the afternoon together, “drank chocolate and talked over our winter's parties”. They dined together (with Johann Rogler), and then “went with Gottsched and saw the Magistrates' Library”.

On October 7, Boswell “breakfasted with honest Qualen, who was quite eager to show his regard for me”, but this was probably the last time they had any contact with each other.