Knox, William (1756-1795) to Henry 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 #: GLC02437.01167 Author/Creator: Knox, William (1756-1795) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 6 September 1781 Pagination: 3 p. + docket
Mentions Lucy Knox's trip up the Hudson River and hearing that General Knox passed New Windsor, New York with Governor George Clinton on his way to meet Lucy. Comments on a naval battle off the coast of Boston between the French frigate Magicianne and the more heavily armed British ship Assurance. Inquires if a Mr. Diricks was ever a Colonel in the Continental Army. Discusses the arrival of a French frigate called the Diligent, along with news that the Spanish and French have attempted "the Reduction of Gibralter" and that they have brought a new type of ship that floats higher in the water. Comments that the officer from the frigate, who has brought part of the loan negotiated by John Laurens, did "not seem to know that there is such a place as Holland or...the Vienna Congress." Reports that a mutual friend named Mrs. Tarois is ill and S. Winslow, Henry's cousin, has married.
Boston Septr. 6th. 1781.
Yours of the 24th. Ulto. came to hand by the Weekly post last Evening. I am glad Mrs. Knox has received some satisfaction from her excursion up the North River, the last accounts I [inserted: had] received of yourself was from a young Gentleman, from New Windsor who informed me you had passed there in Company with Governor Clinton, on your way to Mrs. Knox
You will see by the paper an account of [inserted: a] Battle between the Magicianne of 32 Guns, and a British 2 Deck Ship supposed to be the Assurance Built a [sic] Deptford the last year she mounts 44 Guns, and sails remarkably fast, the Action was seen so plainly from [inserted: our] Town, that the French Colours were seen to strike and the English immediately hoisted, the striking of the French Frigate reflects not the least dishonor on the Commander, as her opponent was greatly superior in point of Force, the Sagittaire of 50 Guns [struck: and] the Astrie of 32 or 36 & the Hermoine of 32, were in harbour when the Action commenced, they pushed out as soon as they possibly could, but from the winds being small and the Sagittaire a very Dull sailing Ship, the (Supposed) Assurance and her prize escaped, the two first mentioned Ships I informed you in a late Letter were destined to cruise  in the Bay for a limitted [sic] time, they continue on their cruise Colo Sears is on Board the Astrie, many volunteers step'd on board the Hermoine when she went out expecting to find some sport among others was a Mr Diricks who I formerly knew as a Qtr: Master to Lord Sterlings division, I wish you to informe [sic] me if this Gentleman ever ha[struck: s]d the rank of Colo. in the Continental Line of Artillery he and his Lady are in Town, waiting for a Passage to Holland they are very intimate with Messrs. Sears & Smith's Families.
On the 4th. Inst. a French Frigate, I beleive [sic] her to be the Diligent arrived at Cape Ann in 33 Days from France, she informs us that the Combined French & Spanish Fleets have once more gone to attempt the Reduction of Giberalter [sic], and that they have curried with them some species of new machines, of [inserted: the] Floating [illegible] kind, which are to be so high from the Water as to be upon a level with the Guns of Gibralter, this sounds a little like building Castles in the Air, however they may possibly answer their expectations, the Officer who has come up From the Frigate does not seem to know that there is such a place as Holland or to have heard any thing of the Vienna Congress, he brings by way of counterballance [sic] [inserted: I am inform'd] that which is full as acceptable that is Cash for the Continent, being part of the Loan negotiated by Colo. Laurens.
In the Domestic Line our Friend Mrs: Jarvis is alarmingly ill I  fear in a Decline, her physicians think her case a very bad one her lungs are thought to be affected a very dangerous Sym[inserted: p]tom has lately appeared that of spitting blood. I fear for her & wish I may be able to give you & Mrs. Knox more pleasing intelligence respecting the Health of a Friend you both regard so much.
Your Cousin Mr. S. Winslow was married on Monday evening to the Amiable Miss Scott, very few persons were present at their Nuptials [sic] which [struck: tis] [inserted: are] said to [inserted: have] been facilitated by some very natural events.
I continue in my resolution of going to Europe in a Month or two, if I I possibly can make an arrangement of mes petites affaires.
I am my dear Frd & Bror.
from Mr William Knox
30 Septr 1781
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.