Williams, J. (fl. 1790) 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 #: GLC02437.04463 Author/Creator: Williams, J. (fl. 1790) Place Written: London, England Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 4 January 1790 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 26.2 x 20.5 cm.
Mentions moving his family to settle in America and discusses the revolution in France. Encloses (not included) letters to [Samuel] Shaw that he has left open for Knox to also read. Writes about the French Revolution, it "supports itself to admiration. What a few years since would have been called the enthusiastic Fables of political madmen is now supported by stubborn Fact. France is perhaps the nearest to a democracy of any Government in the Universe, preserving only a monarch at the head of it pro forma, with no more to do with this composition than the diamond Button has with his majestys hat. There is but one Voice in the Kingdom, and even Monsieur the Kings' Brother has thought it his Duty to come into the national assembly as a private Citizen and justify himself against some suspicious relative to his sincerity of his attachment to the great Cause of Freedom. This flame which had its focus in America, has spread its influence through France to the Low Countries, and I am inclined to look upon that Country as already emancipated from Joseph [Z] who will not be able to do more than his absolute force of arms will go, which notwithstanding its greatness, will be found inadequate to the unanimous efforts of a resolute & decided people." Adds in a postscript, "Cant we contrive in America to get this flame of equal Liberty to blaze over the Spanish & portuguese Colonies our namesakes? War is detestable when Ambition alone is the motive, but the emancipation of the human race is worth almost any price." Noted as post paid on the address leaf.
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.