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Macpherson, John (1726-1792) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.04985 Author/Creator: Macpherson, John (1726-1792) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Manuscript letter signed Date: 10 June 1791 Pagination: 2 p. : address : docket ; 34 x 20.8 cm.

Summary of Content: Macpherson writes seeking Knox's assistance. Claims he is very poor and does not have "Two Shillings on the Earth." Boasts of what he has done for the nation, claiming "I have enriched it more than any other ever did of my Station." Poverty got him thinking that he could repeat the success he had lecturing on natural philosophy, but he has since given up that idea. Has an interest in some patents still pending, but they are unpaid for. Claims he deserves help when "it is considered, what risque I ran to serve this Country, by going thro' the British Army as a Spy!" Says he deserves to be employed "to compel the Algerines to give up our Subjects, & cease taking any more of Our Vessels." Hopes to at least get a loan from the government, which he promises to repay with interest after his patents go through. Encloses a letter from President Washington (not included) and says he will call on Knox tomorrow. Addressed to "Genl John Knox Secretary of War of the United States."

Background Information: Macpherson was a privateer based out of Philadelphia during the American Revolution and later a real estate entrepreneur who worked in the sciences.

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Macpherson, John, 1726-1792

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: NavySpyingLand TransactionPiratesRevolutionary War GeneralPoliticsScience and TechnologyEducationWeaponryInventorRevolutionary WarGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyMaritimeMilitary HistoryFinancePresident

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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