Brooks, John (1752-1825) to Henry Knox
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.01671
Author/Creator: Brooks, John (1752-1825)
Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts
Type: Autograph letter signed
Date: 17 October 1782
Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 29.8 x 18.5 cm.
Summary of Content: Written by Colonel Brooks to Major General Knox. Says he had a long conference with a Massachusetts legislative committee on half-pay pensions for the state’s officers. Says they finally agreed to report ”a state of facts,” but did so without expressing their minds on the subject. Says the report was sent to the Court and as a result Dorr (from Massachusetts Senate), General Artemas Ward, and Lowell (from Massachusetts house) were added to the committee. Says the committee received a letter from a member of Congress [Massachusetts Continental Congressman Samuel Osgood -- see GLC02437.01730] that urged the state not to fund the pensions. The letter claims half-pay for life is ”unequal and excessive.” Reports that the letter is now being used against the officers. Says the house deferred the decision until the third Wednesday of next session. Says they will continue to lobby in the meantime and that ”General Ward has taken an unexpected & decisive part with us.” It seems that Ward was able to have the house vote delayed despite what appeared to be a near unanimous opinion against the pension. Received Knox’s letter of 8 October and says Ward wants to excerpt it to help them in their cause. Postscript says he wrote General Heath a description of the vote, but not in as much detail as this letter to Knox. Seems to want Knox to fill Heath in. See GLC02437.01629 for an earlier dispatch from Brooks on the same subject.
Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783
Keywords/Subjects: Revolutionary War;, Revolutionary War General;, Military History;, Continental Army;, Soldier’s Pay;, Finance;, Government and Civics;, Pension, Continental Congress;, Congress;, Law;
Sub Era: The War for Independence
Background: John Brooks was Governor of Massachusetts from 1816 to 1823. Before entering public life, John Brooks had established careers in medicine and as a military leader during the American Revolution. Having already trained as a doctor in his hometown of Medford, he began his medical practice in Reading where he became the Captain of the Reading Minutemen. He led them in the Battle of Concord and at Bunker Hill. He accepted a commission as Captain in the Continental Army and took part in battles in White Plains, Valley Forge, and Long Island. He returned to take over the practice of his mentor Dr. Simon Tufts in 1783, and two years later was elected to the General Court. He was appointed Major General of the Middlesex Militia in 1786, which he led in suppressing Shays’ Rebellion. He was appointed Adjutant General (1812-1816) and won the governorship with the Federalist Party in 1816. It was during Brooks’s tenure that Massachusetts’s territory of Maine became an independent state. Having served seven terms, Brooks declined to run for an eighth term and retired to private life.Order Image