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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00630 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: New Hope, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 30 July 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 32.2 x 19.5 cm.

Follows British General William Howe while trying to determine if Howe intends on moving toward Philadelphia with his troops. Notes that he is within 32 miles of Philadelphia, and writes, "I am in hopes my business will call me there having never been in that corrupt place..." Wonders as to Howe's hesitation, joking that it is impossible Howe would be afraid of "our ragamuffin army." Criticizes Howe, noting "the first principle of an invader ought to be to destroy the army of his opponents... if his army is not superior in the field he may as well take himself away..." Asserts that based on affairs in the north (possibly a reference to the American loss of Ticonderoga in early July), the British campaign in his location may turn from defensive to offensive. Expresses hope that military service will "render him admirable," referring to his brother William Knox.

Lambertville, New Jersey and New Hope, Pennsylvania were both called Coryell's Ferry at the time Knox wrote this letter. They are located directly across the Delaware River from each other.

Coryells Ferry 30th July 1777
My dearest Lucy
We are thus far on our way to Philadelphia - we arrived here Yesterday morning, and shall halt until we have further and fuller evide[text loss] that the enemy are going to Philadelphia - which if we do not receive by tomorrow evening I shall consider ourselves as deceived by Sr W.m and that he is going eastward, if so take care, dont fall into his hands nor run any risque of so doing - take some place of the route of the enemy - if this event takes place I have reasons to suppose his Excellency will permit me to set off post to New England in order to arrange the affairs of my department and my dearest Girl may rely upon it no anxious horses ever flew faster than I shall - animated by Love and fear every moment will appear an hour. This is one of the most delightful Rivers in the world. We are now within 32 miles of [2] Philadelphia, I am in hopes my business will call me there having never been in that corrupt place - tho this is the second time that I've been within a few miles - is it not strange that Mr Howe and the stern proud bombastic Britons shou'd wish to deceive us and go where they will meet with but little opposition - for my part it looks so very little like making a speedy Conquest that I think in any point of view it looks like fear - "but that's impossible they should be afraid of our ragamuffin army." however it certainly has that appearance - our army was to be found and they Did not chuse to hazard an engagement on what the supposed unequal terms - the first principle of an invader ought to be to destroy the army of his opponets - for altho' he may make conquests without fighting Yet he cannot keep them & if his army is not superior in the field he may as well take himself away - I own Lucy that I thought this Campaign would have [3] been pretty nearly decisive of [struck: Mr Howes] G - Britain's pretensions - but the affairs to the northward may render it otherwise - two days will determine whether I shall see my dear dear Lucy within twelve or 14 days - God grant it may be so - I sent you the watch by a Young Mr Spooner - I hope you will receive it safe - it wants a minor Spring - the Chain is gold and cost 8 Guineas how does my dear Girl since my brother [text loss] her - he writes by this post - I sh[text loss] keep him with me - I think his being in the army will soon rub off Some [illegible] airs and render him amiable - write me a history of your Life - every thing you do is interesting to me - God preserve you & render you safe to your truly affectionate
Harry Knox
Kiss my baby and tho you want no inducement I will most amply repay you with every inducement

[address leaf]
Mrs. Knox
Boston
post

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