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.

Lincoln, Benjamin (1733-1810) [Letter of address to the town of Granby]

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 #: GLC02437.03439 Author/Creator: Lincoln, Benjamin (1733-1810) Place Written: Hadley, Massachusetts Type: Manuscript document Date: 1 February 1787 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 31.2 x 19 cm.

Honored with their application from the day before. Writes that he sympathizes too much with "the distresses of those unhappy men" who have risen against the government not to try to avoid reclaiming them without bloodshed. Has tried to avoid firing, and has warned Shays of the danger he and his men are in. Hopes they heed his advice. Says that towns which want to put a swift end to the rebellion should aid the government, and provides ways they might help. Marked as a copy. See GLC02437.03435 for a copy of the letter to which he replies.

Hadley Feby 1. 1787
I am this moment honoured [sic] with your application of yesterday's date. -
I have felt too sensibly for the distresses of those unhappy men, who have been deluded to rise in arms against their Country, in violation of every principle of duty, not to have most seriously contemplated, how they might be reclaimed without bloodshed: - hitherto our men have been restrained from firing[:] Shays has been notified of his danger & of the consequences which must ensue should he fire upon the troops of Government; his men have been invited to return to their homes. & lay down their arms. I hope they will attend to the advice.
I think those towns which sincerely wish to put an end to this rebellion, might render essential services in effecting so desirable an object. - They should, by their advice, recall their men now in arms; they should aid in apprehending all abettors of them, & all who are yielding them any comfort & supplies: - This would reduce them to submission & prevent the horrors so much feared. -
I am,
Your hum: Servt:
B Lincoln

Letter or address from
the Town of Granby
to Genl Lincoln & his
answer 31 Jany 1787

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources