Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Cabot, George (1752-1823) to Jonathan Williams

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05588.01 Author/Creator: Cabot, George (1752-1823) Place Written: Brookline, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 12 May 1798 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Cabot, former United States Senator, informs Williams that he "must decline the Secretaryship of the Navy; to this determination I was ultimately brought by a full conviction that I cou'd not go through the labor of an office so difficult ... in estimating the forces that cou'd be employed to overcome the obstacles in a path hitherto untrod in this country I assure you that my mind constantly resorted to you as the principle, & if I cou'd have been induced to take upon myself so weighty an engagement I shou'd have relied greatly upon your assistance in every part of the performance of it." Referring to President John Adams, relates his regret "to refuse anything of a public nature which the President had thought it expedient to require." States that Mrs. Cabot sends her regards to Mrs. Williams.

People: Cabot, George, 1752-1823.
Williams, Jonathan, 1750-1815.
Adams, John, 1735-1826.

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Keywords/Subjects: Navy, Military History, President, Quasi-war, France

Sub Era: The Early Republic