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Williams, William (1731-1811) to Jabez Huntington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04867 Author/Creator: Williams, William (1731-1811) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 12 August 1776 Pagination: 2 p. ; 31.7 x 20.3 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04867 Author/Creator: Williams, William (1731-1811) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 12 August 1776 Pagination: 2 p. ; 31.7 x 20.3 cm.

Summary of Content: Summarizes affairs in first weeks of independence. Opens by commenting on his arduous journey to Philadelphia to join the Continental Congress. Informs that Silas Deane has arrived from France with the report of the French court's unfavorable reception of the American request for aid. Discusses the Declaration and comments that it has spurred the colonies to form governments. Informs that South Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey have established them and indicates who these colonies have chosen or might choose for governors. Mentions John Alsop, a Continental Congress member from New York who was displeased with the Declaration. Hopes Connecticut will take a conservative approach to creating a constitution.

Background Information: Williams was a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776 and 1777 from Connecticut and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Huntington was a member of the council of safety and ...was commissioned a major general by Connecticut in December 1776. Date is partially missing from document. The 12th is the date of the letter as per the provenance.See More

Full Transcript: Philadelphia Aug 1776
Hond & dear Sir
I had the Pleasure of recieving your Favor of ye 31st last for which I thank you, have beside, recd only one Letter err from ...ye Govr of ye 26th, from my dear Colony Since I left it, it gives me great pleasure to hear of the welfare of my friends. I arrived here ye 28th after the most tiresome, Sultry & fatigueing Journey that ever [inserted: I] went thro' & was immediately attacked with a severe touch of the quick Step, (accordg to Army Phrase) but [illegible] thro divine Mercy recoverd,, either this Climate, [inserted: or] the Summer or [inserted: by means of] the Suffocated air of ye City it is [strikeout] hotter than I ever experienced by much, I believe it is attributable to all these Causes. it is by far more desirable to be at home than here especially at this Season. Have no News of importance, if I had it wod be impossible you shod receive it first from me. You will see in the Papers that a late Member of Congress is arrived in France, you will not be a at loss but it must be Mr Deane, about a Week before Mr Morris one of Secret Comtee read a Letter in ye House from his fri[inserted: e]nd in Marsailles, mentioning that Mr Bl[illegible], was arrived there, no name was mend. but We had no doubt who was meant, the acco. continuind of ye Disposition of ye French Court was not So favorable as had we wished, it rather Seemd as if they did not in tend to meddle. You will also see what was printed here yesterday. That ye Pacific Ministry of that Court are changed, & Choisieul &c in. a gent, of Congerss told me yesterday [inserted: or before] He had a Letter from France dated 9 June, a fortnight [inserted: & more] later than the other, mentioning 'no Such thing & that the acco is undoubtebly false. I fear it is not to be relyd on. I doubt not King Geo. & his Ministry wod Sacrifice half ye Blood & Treasure of his Kingdom to keep the French Still. I believe We have nothing but the Justice of our Cause, & the infinite Mercy of God to rely on for Safety; without the Help of Foreigners. it is probable Mr Blanks Credentials will not intitle him to any [strikeout] Audience of ye Powers of that Court. [Strikeout], but &c. It is pretty certain We Shall get nothing by ye bargain unless it may be a Letter once in a while, and can't say but ye Secret Comtee may have one, tho no: Body knows it but themselves if they have the Standing Distr of Congress, (when Time will admit) is the Confederation, which is attended with difficulty here & I fear will be [inserted: with] more at Home. if imminent Danger did not enforce the [2] Necessity [text loss] We shod differ yet more, [text loss] not at Liberty to mention particulars, buss[text loss] as it Shall be finished if ever, Shall immideately J[text loss] Copys, if here. I wrote His Honor ye 10th of the Cargo of Genl Officers, appointed for ye N. York Markett. Your Sons Rank cod not admit of his being one tho I doubt not his Merit wod otherwise intitle him. your Confession wod take place if the Order Shod be much broke, The Genll. Guard against is his Letters. Since the above appointments Lt Cols Durkee & Tyler are added to the List of Cols in Arnold & Parsons room & Majrs Prentice & Knowlton are Lt Cols. the major places not yet filld. The Declaration of Independence Seems to have given great Satisfaction to all the Colonies this way & has been every where proclaimed by order of ye Conventions or Assemblys, with ye great Ecclat of ye People. S. Carolina Virgin[inserted: a] N. Jersey have established ye forms of Government the first have chose. Jno Rutledge Govnr. ye Second, Patrick Henry, Col. Harrisson leaves Congress [inserted: ye day] being Superseded, & chosen privy Councillor. Jersey threaten Judge Stockton for Governor; Some talk of Dr. Witherspoon, both are members of Congress. Mr Alsop a member from York was much offended at ye declara:tion of Indepdnence & expressd it very freely to his Conven:tion & desired to resign. They Spiritedly told him in answer That They most cheerfully accepted his Resignation &c He is chaffed, & gone a Journey to Maryland. The Declara[inserted: n.] had ye vote of every Colony & almost every Member. the Convention of this State are Sitting, & framing a Con::Stituion. Dr Franklin will probably be their Governor. I hope our Colony will judge as I do, that it is impossi::ble for us to get a better on ye whole than our Fathers chose for Us & We have long practiced upon with great Peace & Happiness, & that any alterations or Innovations [struck: wod] wo'd be attended with dangerous Consequences.
I want to hear of every transaction &c in your Congress. &c &c Connecticut has been [inserted: as] a perfect blank or non Entity
Since I left it.
I am Sir with much Esteem & Regard,
Your cordial Friend & most Obed H. Servt.
Wm Williams
Honr Jz. Huntington Esq
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People: Williams, William, 1731-1811
Huntington, Jabez, 1719-1786
Alsop, John, 1724-1794
Deane, Silas, 1737-1789

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarGovernment and CivicsMilitary HistoryContinental CongressCongressTravelDiplomacyFranceGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsDeclaration of IndependenceArticles of ConfederationLoyalistState Constitution

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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