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Williams, Jonathan (1751-1815) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.10229 Author/Creator: Williams, Jonathan (1751-1815) Place Written: Richmond, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 May 1791 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 38.7 x 23.7 cm.

Summary of Content: Encloses a letter from his brother Bradford, who is "much alarmed at the appearance of a rival candidate in the person of [a] mutual friend Harry Jackson." Expresses no wish to sway Knox's opinion, but does ask for his "Opinion of the requisite Qualities of the two Candidates ... conclude that [he] will ... Support the pretensions of the man [he has]... esteemed." Goes on to discuss Patrick Henry and his resignation from the Virginia government since "there is every reason to believe this State will no longer oppose the assumption of their debt, but quietly acquiesce in the funding system." "The great popular Leader" Henry "wished to raise a clamour against the Federal Government and he struck at the assumption but Seeing that he would involve himself in absurdity to continue this opposition, without providing funds to pay the Interest of the State Debt & Seeing that this would strike at the root of his popularity he has wisely retired ... " Stain on the address leaf where the letter was sealed and stamped "R H ION May 10." Watermarked "C Taylor" and with a hunting horn inside a crest with "G R" underneath. "Free" stamped on address leaf with no signature.

Background Information: Williams was American businessman, military figure, politician, writer, and a grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin. He became Chief of Engineers of the Army Corps of Engineers, was the first superintendent of ...West Point, and served as a Pennsylvania Representative from 1815-1816. Bradford most likely refers to William Bradford, the publisher of The Pennsylvania Journal. In later years each issue had the still-recognized image of the snake chopped into segments with the motto Unite or Die. Variations of this logo were also used by Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, and others. Bradford was also the official printer for the Congress and served as a Major, and a Colonel during the Revolution, but resigned from the army when British forces withdrew from Philadelphia. Jackson was the founder of "Jackson’s Additional Continental Regiment" which was officially designated the 16th Massachusetts Regiment. Although this unit was disbanded in 1781, Jackson remained in service until 1784 and commanded the last remaining regiment in the Continental Army. Ames was a Massachusetts Federalist Representative and served from 1789-1796. Henry was a prominent figure in the American Revolution, known and remembered primarily for his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he was one of the most influential (and radical) advocates of the American Revolution and republicanism, especially in his denunciations of corruption in government officials and his defense of historic rights.
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People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Williams, Jonathan, 1750-1815
Jackson, Henry, 1747-1809
Henry, Patrick, 1736-1799

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Office SeekerGovernment and CivicsPoliticsFinanceEconomicsAssumption of State DebtAmerican StatesmenDebt

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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