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.

Jackson, Henry (1747-1809) 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 #: GLC02437.03398 Author/Creator: Jackson, Henry (1747-1809) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 31 December 1786 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 33 x 20.2 cm.

Provides an account of the recent actions of Shays and his followers: the previous Tuesday, they prevented the Court at Springfield from sitting. The Court will meet in Worcester on 23 January. He and General [Benjamin] Lincoln are recruiting troops and preparing the militia. Also extensively discusses the clothing, supplies, and provisions needed for the troops.

Boston Decem 31. 1786
Sunday noon
My dear Harry
By the post last Eveng I recd a few lines from you of the 24th Inst -
Shayes at the head of about 300 armed Men, made their appearance at Springfield on Tuesday last, and prevented the Courts seting, which was to have been on that day - there was no opposition to them and when they had effected their purpose, they all dispersed, and made the best of their way home - Capt: Cushing of my Regiment recruited several of them, before they left the ground -
The Court is to meet at Worcester on the 23d of Jany: and it is reported that government are determind to try their strength at that time, - the Government and Council are now siting and I believe arrangements of the Militia are making for that purpose - our friend General Lincoln I suppose will have the command of the government Troops -
"from the present appearances of the Recruiting service, I think it probable by the 23d of Jany: I shall have inlisted near two Companies, that is, at least 100 Men - if the monied men, wou'd compleatly [2] compleatly cloath them, and advance two months pay to them and the Officers, I am fully satisfied they wou'd be of effective service to the government on the acction. - as a much greater dependence could be placed in them, than the same number of Militia - by having my Recruits cloathed and equiped wou'd give an amazing spring to the Recruiting service, much more so than any other made that can be pointed out - if this meets with your Ideas, and you will tender their services to the Government, or will permit me, on the conditions I have mention'd I will exert myself to have them in the best possible order - I am unacquainted with the Established uniform and the allowance of Clothing, and also the number of Non Commissid. officers to a Company, it will therefore be necessary for you to write me on this lead
as I shall always wish to conduct with the greatest Military propriety, I will thank you to inform me, if I am at any time, to consider myself under the Command or direction of the Government and Council, or any person but you, unless I am in that field -
I hope the Contracts for supplying the [3] the Troops with Provisions, Clothing and &c will be completed soon, many dificulties attend our present mode, as I purchase every article as I want them, they come much higher than if I was to bring in the grocer - I have been under the necessity of buing Tin Camp Kettles because we have no sheet Iron in this Town, if there is any in N York, it woud be best to send some round, they can be made here on reasonable terms - I am in great want of them - I observe you have not orderd Drums and Fifes from Philadelphia, it is necessary, I should have them, as I have several of the musick inlisted and I want them to practice" -
Before this can possibly reach you, Mrs. & Mr. Swan must have arrived in NYork, unless some accident has detained them on the road - but I hope they have had a comfortable and pleasant Journey, although their prospects for the two first days, was much against them - inform them their Children and Family were all well yesterday excepting Chatham who remains as when they left him -
Thomas Edwards formerly
[4] formerly Judge advocate has desired me to write you with respect to him, in case a J.A. is appointed to the present establishment he is capable, and the appointment wou'd be pleasing to him -
your friends are all well and desire to rememberd to you and Lucy - my love to Lucy and the Children - remember me to Mrs and Mr. Swan -
From your truly affectionate
H Jackson
P.S. in my Letter I have forgot to mention that I have recruited 70 men - HJ
Since I finished my Letter I recd. the inclosed for Mrs Swan, from Miss [Snelling] at Dorchester, which I wish you to deliver as directed -
To Genl. Henry Knox

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources