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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to George Washington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.06510 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter Date: 2 September 1795 Pagination: 8 p. ; 32.2 x 19.9 cm.

Summary of Content: Discusses public reaction to Jay's Treaty, which had just been ratified candidates to fill the vacant position of U.S. Attorney General, the arrival in the U.S. of Lafayette's son, who had just escaped from Revolutionary France, mutual friends, and his own family. Knox's retained draft.

Full Transcript: [draft]
Boston [struck: 30 August]
[inserted: 2d Septr.], 1795.
My dear Sir
In addressing myself to you [inserted: struck: as] I experience [illegible] the mingled emotions of respect and affection, the former, ...repelling, [struck: least] [inserted: lest] I should intrude, and the latter, drawing me to hold conversation with you, who independent of all political considerations, and situations I shall ever hold dear to my soul - Having overcome [struck: The late sensations which have been [inserted: evinced] [inserted: my reluctance to break in upon your affairs] the difficulties, which, had in breaking in upon your important head, important shouders for your Excelncys Good], I shall [struck: with the truth of [illegible] truly [struck: state] [inserted: state] to you the views, which my [inserted: local] situation [inserted: here] presents of the [struck: present] [inserted: existing] feeling of the public mind in this quarter - [struck: The past sensations of] The first [struck: sensations respecting the] [inserted: impressions] of most of [2] [struck: most of the] [inserted: the majority of the most of the] great Towns and Cities, have been brought to you in pretty unequivocal language. [struck: I am very far from attributing this sensation] [inserted: This sensation] to [struck: proper motives of the towns, sensations] [inserted: [struck: improper motives] in the majority ought not to be attributed to unworthy motives], whatever [strikeout] may have influenced some particular characters - [struck: Our] [inserted: The] Citizens [struck: generally] love liberty, and they love the cause of France as connected with that of liberty - The [struck: injuries] benefits received from France - and the [struck: former and recent] [inserted: former and recent] injuries from Great Britain were palpable - [inserted: and] [struck: They had [illegible] existed [illegible]] the sense of both [struck: were] strong. This was known to certain people and they [inserted: [strikeout] eagerly] embraced the occasion of the treaty for which they had long been preparing, to excite [struck: the] [inserted: a] ferment [struck: which has been] and uproar one which they might direct against the government or individuals as they should think expedinet -
But thank [3] God they have missed their intention for the present - The experience the good Citzens have had of their president, and their confidence in their government, has caused them to reflect - [struck: and] then to conclude [strikeout] and tacitly to aknowledge that the treaty although not [struck: altogether] so favorable as their wishes dictated; was not, so injurious to France and their own country as they had been [struck: taught] [inserted: led] to believe - Your letter to the Town of Boston, and the [struck: acknowledge] ratification, has operated [struck: like] upon a [illegible] [inserted: upon them like a charm] to allay a rising storm - Most dispassionate people now express openly their entire confidence with [struck: confidence] constituted authority The [struck: great majority] [inserted: Sense of the] mercantile interest of this Town has been laid before you [4] and I am informed that the sense [struck: of] [inserted: is similar of] the same interest in the Towns of Marblehead [struck: Plymouth Mass] [inserted: Salem] Newburyport, Cape Ann and Portland [struck: and on the Sound] - Great unanimity prevails among that most respectable Class of people The Clergy of this State in favor of the principle and practice of Govermnt. This is expressed unequivocally in their prayers and sermons with immense effect - The great body of the yeomanry appear [struck: also] by information from all parts of New England [struck: appear] to repose unbounded confidence in their head executve - [struck: It is not to be expected however with all [struck: this] [inserted: these Symptoms] that the treaty will be popular [inserted: because [struck: they] [inserted: the people] do not and [struck: would] have no cause to love the English]- But their confidence [struck: of all classes in the Government] will be undiminished and they will acquiesce in in its [strikeout] decisions - [struck: and] they also anxiously desire [inserted: the continuance of] peace and [struck: a continuance of these] [inserted: the] unbounded prosperity which prevails every where -] [5] Mr. Randolphes resignation occassions many conjectures - and Mr. Bradfords death general regret - and the next [struck: Conjecture] [inserted: surmise is] who is to supply their [struck: places] [inserted: vacancies] I mention with [inserted: [struck: respect] great] diffedence [struck: and] the names that seem [struck: most promenent] in my mind the most promnent [inserted: [struck: without] merely to bring [illegible] Edward Rutledge - or Genl Pinckney of South Carolina - [inserted: Colo Innes], or Marshall of Virginia -] Rufus King of New York Christopher Gore of this State - But I [struck: pray] presume that your distribution of officers will prevent the first and the two last - from Being approved. The two virginia Gentlemen I know [struck: only] [inserted: principaly] by reputation - Mr. Rutledge is in power of manners, information, head and heart every thing you could wish, and is the most suitable - [struck: [illegible]] long prefer of [illegible] [inserted: character] and one to whom you would have [6] cause to repose just Confidence [struck: in] - But the chief justice being of the same state and family would [illegible] [inserted page 7: This latter appointment is highly desirable among the federalists here - ]
Mr. Gore is [struck: a very good] [inserted: an excellent] Copy of [strikeout] [inserted: Mr. E. Rutledge] and is an aimable and able man - He is author of Manlius some time ago, and lately of The Federalist - [struck: perhaps he would] His Fortune is handsome, and [inserted: has] no family but his wife - [struck: knowledge of] perhaps he would make a proper attor[ne]y General - He [struck: will] [inserted: would] not be averse to public employment.
Mr. Kings abilities are so well known that it would be unnessary to say anything of him -
The Son of M de la Fayette is here having arrived two months ago - [struck: I understand his [illegible] [7] accompanied by [struck: a gentleman] [inserted: an amiable gentleman as a tutor -] Young Fayette goes [strikeout] by the name of Motier, concealing his true name lest that some injury might arise to his mother mark for his escape, or to a young Mr Russel of this Town now in France through whose influence lately he escaped from France - He is now at Mr Joseph Russel's here uncertain exactly how to conduct himself in respect to you not having as I am informed written to you at all lest it might in some way embarras you. - He is a lovely young man, of excellent morals and conduct - If you write him please to enclose it under cover to Joseph Russell Esq Treasurer of the Town of Boston -
[8] I have come up here [struck: with respecting some] upon [struck: for] [inserted: some urgent] business, and I shall return to St. Georges in a few days - If you should ever think proper to write to me [inserted: which I have not the [strikeout] unreasonably to assume -] please to direct to me at Thomas on St. Georges [inserted: River] district of Maine - Mrs. Knox and my family [struck: with] [inserted: and] myself are entirely satisfied with our situation - we [struck: are now] [inserted: are surounded with] plenty and are in the way of our duty - I believe we shall pass our winter in [struck: Boston] this Town, where I my business will demand my presence - I shall however [inserted: strikeout] be at Philadelphia in the month of Novr -
I pray you to have the goodness to present me respectfully to Mrs. Washington [struck: and to Mrs] and [struck: Dandr] also to the young Ladies and Mr Dandridge.
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Washington, George, 1732-1799

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentPoliticsDiplomacyGovernment and CivicsGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsTreatyJay's TreatyRevolutionary War GeneralFrench RevolutionFranceRefugees

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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