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Lillie, John (1755-1801) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.05116 Author/Creator: Lillie, John (1755-1801) Place Written: Savannah, Georgia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 12 August 1791 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 32.7 x 20.3 cm.

Written by Knox's former aide-de-camp Lillie. Written on the ship "Eliza" bound for Savannah, Georgia. Says he previously wrote Knox a letter before he left Gibraltar in which he gave a sketch of the character of the Emperor of Morocco. The day after he left Gibraltar he saw two letters in the possession of James Simpson, the consul for the Empress of Prussia, from two European consuls residing in Tangiers. The letters reported that the Emperor's brother has amassed a body of nearly 100,000 troops near Fez with the intention of attacking the northern ports of Morocco to dethrone the Emperor. Notes he heard that the brother is well respected in the south and that the Emperor never challenged him there. Because of these circumstances "the Ship unlading Stores a present from the King of Spain, have stop'd discharging till further orders." This seems to be a reference to the protection money paid to the Emperor to keep Spanish shipping safe from Moroccan corsairs. Mention that a third brother is going to assist in the overthrow of the Emperor. Says he was reading an American newspaper in Madeira which mentioned that Congress authorized a $20,000 payment to the Emperor of Morocco and he thought the government should know of the current situation. Reports that the Emperor is in want of money and his troops threaten to revolt over lack of pay. There have been attempts to assassinate him "for his extreme cruelty to his subjects." Writes, "Should Congress have forwarded this sum of money agreeably to the Act, & a revolution should take place, his successor will either expect or demand an equal sum." His advice is to wait a few months if the present has not been sent. "Free" handwritten on address leaf with no signature.

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