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.

Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy 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 #: GLC02437.00369 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 11 July 1776 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 32.3 x 20.8 cm.

Responds to Lucy's most recent letter (see GLC02437.00364), discussing her hasty departure from New York. Henry is upset by her distress. He reiterates that he did not want her in New York before something decisive occurred in the war. In response to her complaint that Nathanael Greene's wife returned to New York, he explains that General Greene did not want her there for the same reasons and had just sent her to Newark and she will later go to either Fairfield or Providence. Comments that if Mrs. Pollard comes to New York, she will distract her husband Jonathan Pollard, Knox's quarter master. Reiterates that he wants to keep her away from the war and describes his conduct as that "of the most disinterested friendship cemented by the tenderest love." He emphasizes the gravity of the New York campaign, "on which the happiness or misery of Millions may depend." Asks her to give Fairfield another chance, mentions that smallpox is spreading by inoculation in Boston, and reports recent sightings of British ships. After his signature, makes an attempt to raise her spirits with an aphorism about gender: "I ever wish'd my Lucy to soar above the Generality of her Sex many of whom to be sure are trifling insignificant animals, dreading what never will come to pass."

New York 10 oClock Thursday morning July 11th
My dear Lucy
I am grievd and distress'd from the receipt of your Letter, your pain and inconvenience must in a great measure arise from the stupid advice of some bad fool who advis'd you not to go at Fairfield at first, where I am credibly inform'd your company was wish'd for by Mrs. Burr who would have provided you with Comfortable and decent Lodgings, and the Miss Van Hornes who most earnestly long'd for you - I gave you my reasons in my last why more fully than I can at present why I wish'd you not to come here until something decisive had taken place - As to Mrs. Green the Genl told her & told me that he never was sorry to see her before but that he now was most heartily - she would have set off back immediately if he could have got a carriage, She has gone this day to Newark after Genl[s] [Brother] who is go back with her back either to Fairfield or Providence which she pleases - Mrs. Pollard may do as She pleases but if she comes here I am sure she must nearly distract he husband - My whole conduct towards you has been of the most disinterested friendship Cemented by the tenderest love, that Great being who searchest the hearts of the children of men knows I value you above every blessing, and for that Reason I wish you to be at such a distance from the horrid Scenes of War - We are fighting for our Country for posterity perhaps on the success of this Campaign the happiness or misery of Million may depend. [2] Go to Fairfield & try it awhile, I am sure you will like it better I wrote to Mr Burr two days after you went from this place he will stand your friend, The small pox is spreading in Boston by Innoculation. God bless You and give you happiness, God bless your babe
Amen amen -
I ever wishd my Lucy to soar above the Generality of her Sex many of whom to be sure are trifling insignificant animals, dreading what never will come to pass.

I have stole this time when the people are gazing at some men of wars boats who have come near the Town appearing to be [sending?] - they are since gone off -

Genl to Mrs K

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources