Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Waldo, Jonathan (fl. 1774-1779) to William Knox

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00185 Author/Creator: Waldo, Jonathan (fl. 1774-1779) Place Written: Salem, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 9 November 1774 Pagination: 4p. 32.1 cm. x 19.9 cm.

Summary of Content: Makes a lengthy, poetic comparison of the reception of Knox's last letter to a lost sailor finding land. Also gives a lengthy explanation for why he has not written sooner and apologizes for being remiss. Continues with a discussion of friendship, love, and beauty. Notes that they have received the resolutions from the First Continental Congress. Offers lofty praise of the virtuous and resolute Bostonians and the American movement for freedom, and denounces the Intolerable Acts and the "Tyranny of Kings." The First Continental Congress ended on 26 October 1774. It had voted to cut off colonial trade with Great Britain unless Parliament abolished the Intolerable Acts and issued resolutions advising the colonies to begin training citizens for war.

Full Transcript: [draft]
"[3] … Salem is but a Barren Place for News. we have Recd. the Resolves of the Grand Congress - [4] Our virtuous Bostonians seem to show a Spirit superior to every ...Misfortune, and will I hope by their Firmness, Prudence, and Resolution baffle the Efforts of all those Designing Men who seem determined on their Ruin, may all their [curst] Designs recoil with redoubled Vengeance back on their wretched Heads, and may our virtuous Sons rise superior to all the Threatnings [sic] and Impositions of a wicked Ministry who corrupted by Bribery and enervated by Luxury, endeavour to bring us on a Level with their slavish Selves, but Time which shakes the Stable Tyranny of Kings and makes the Tottering Kingdom fall may at some future Period roll the Ball of Empire to our Northern Climes. Then will America give Freedom to all the World and cause all Nations to feel the Lenity of their Government …"See More

People: Waldo, Jonathan, fl. 1721-1779
Knox, William, 1756-1795
Waldo, Jonathan, fl. 1774-1779

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Continental CongressMilitiaMilitary HistoryFriendshipCongressLawRevolutionary WarBoston Port BillGovernment and CivicsGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFreedom and IndependenceCommerceMerchants and Trade

Sub Era: Road to Revolution

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources