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Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00237 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Albany, New York Type: Autograph letter Date: 5 January 1776 Pagination: 4p. ; 32.4 x 20.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Laments not being able to return to Lucy when he had hoped to. Praises Lucy at length and reaffirms his love for her. Notes that this is only the fourth letter he has been able to write to her in the two months they have been apart, and explains why his letter of 5 December 1775 was so short (see GLC02437.00215). Comments on the weather and the lack of snow, which impeded his plans to transport artillery from Fort Ticonderoga to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mentions that his brother William Knox is now at Lake George preparing the sleds for the transport. Describes his travels. Comments favorably of the city of New York in comparison to Boston, but criticizes the people's pride, conceit, profaneness, and Toryism. Mentions the low population and poverty of the area between New York City and Albany. Favorably assesses Albany, New York and speculates that, because of its access to the western territories, it will "one day be if not the Capital yet nearly to it of America." Criticizes treatment of American prisoners of war by the British, citing Richard Prescott's abuse of Ethan Allen. Prescott was captured by the Americans on 17 November 1775, and Knox remarks that he and other prisoners were being sent from Albany to Pennsylvania. Comments on letters between generals George Washington and William Howe in which Washington vows to treat Prescott as Allen was treated. Comments on his impression of the British prisoners.

Full Transcript: Albany Jany 5 1776 -
My lovely & dearest friend
Those people who love as you & I do never ought to part. It is with the greatest anxiety that I am forc'd to ...date my letter at this distance from my love at a time too when I thought to have been happily in [struck: such] Arms - I feel for you my Lucy I feel for myself, but as the seeing her without whom life is a blank must in the course of Events be protracted for a week or two longer I am resolv'd to write her a long letter - a man whom General Washington has sent Express to General Schuyler has promis'd me to deliver it with his own hands to you - for which you will give something - with what raptures should I receive a Letter from my angels hands, I should think it one of the best forms of heaven - I would kiss I would put it in my bosom & wear it there 'till no part remain'd, Yet though it would be the last token of her love, it would not be the freshest in my memory, my Lucy is perpetually in my mind constantly in my heart, I wish my Interest was as sure in heaven as I am it is in any Lucy I would pray without ceasing for [struck: your] [inserted: her] happiness - May that Being who blesses the universe with the rays of his benign Providence, bless you with a happy new Year - give You every joy & every wish necessary to your felicity, I am exceedingly concern'd for fear my love should repine at my not being able to come at the time expected, do not I beseech you - consider & keep in mind the happy very happy meeting we shall have after two months of very painful absence, if my Dear thinks of it with [inserted: the] asking expectation I do as I beleive she does it will go a great way in sooth [2] soothing the present in expectation of the future - I don't know what kind of reasoning this is, but I know it certainly is so altho' I've not clearly express'd it - This is only the fourth letter that I have had an opportunity to write to you, one of them a very little sneaking one indeed, which was owing to its being written before day in the most pressing hurry as General Schuyler had just then arriv'd from Ticonderoga over Lake George as was going to set out immediately for Albany - often since when I reflected upon its shortness - I would almost wish I had sent none - In my last I inform'd you which was Decr 17. that I hop'd to be with you in three weeks - There was little or no snow then on Christmas Eve, there was a plentiful Fall with some exceeding cold weather after it as I ever knew - the weather for three or four days past has been intolerably warm considering my wishes - the Thaw has been so great that I've trembl'd for the Consequences, for without Snow my very important charge cannot get along - I came from lake George some days ago In the severely cold weather & suffer'd by it considerably - Excepting which Altho' I cannot say much for the pleasantry of the Journey yet it has been tolerable - My brother is now at lake George Buisly [sic] employ'd in loading the sleds as they come up - there are a considerable number employ'd in getting them down to this place where If the weather should come cold which I hope for - they will all be on next Tuesday or Wednesday - & the next Tuesday at Springfield & four or five days after at Cambridge - after I see them all set off from Springfield I shall leave them & push on - on the wings of expectation & Love - A little about my travels - New York is a place where I think in General the houses are better [3] better than at Boston - they are Generally of Brick - and three Stories high with the largest kind of windows - Their Churches are Grand their Colleges & workhouse & hospitals [struck: &] Most excellently situated & also exceedingly commodious their principal streets much wider than ours, - the people - why - the people, are magnificent in their equipages which are numerous in their house [inserted: furniture] which is fine - In their pride & conceit which are inimitable, in their profaneness - which is intolerable, in their want of principle which is prevalent - In their Toryism which is Unsufferable & for which they must repent in dust & ashes - The Country from New York to this City is not very populous; not the fifth part so much so as in New England & with much greater marks of poverty than there - the people of this City of which there are about 5000 to 6000 are I beleive honest enough & many of them sensible people - much more so than [inserted: in] any other part of the Government which Ive Seen there are few very good Buildings for public Worship, with a State House, the remains of Capital Barracks, Hospital, & Fort - which must in their day have been very clever - It is situated on the side of a Hill the foot of which I reach'd by Hudsons River, which is Navigable for Vessells of 70 or 80 tons as [far] as this - Albany from its Situation, commanding the trade [inserted: of the] Lakes, & the immense territories westward must one day be if not the Capital yet nearly to it of America and there Are a number of Gentlemens very elegant seats in view from that part of the river before the Town - among them I think General Schuylers claims the preference it is very large & with a most commanding situation, the Owner of which is Sensible & polite & I think [strikeout] [4] behaved with vast propriety to the British officers who by the course of War have fallen into our hands - If there was such a thing as discrimination they must see the infinite difference with which they are treated to which our officers are who are so unfortunate as to fall in to their hands - Seventeen of them sat out from this for Pensylvania Yesterday among whom was General Presscott who has by all accounts behav'd excessively ill in putting Colo Allen of ours who was taken at Montreal - General Schuyler favor'd me with the Sight of A Letter which General Washington sent to General Howe in Boston & Mr Howes answer - It respects Genl Presscott, Genl W.- tells Genl Howe as soon as he gets authenticated facts of Presscotts treatment of Allen - that presscott shall be serv'd in the same manner - I think Mr Presscott in a disagreable situation - here is also Capt Gamble - who wrote the Letters from Quebec which Were publis'd last summer - these were taken At Montreal, St Johns - Chamblee & Longueil in all about 60. Commission officers - no fool of Security this for the British faith - besides about twenty of the Canadian Noblesse - who appear as lively & happy as if nothing happen'd - One or two of the Officers I pitied the others seem'd concern'd but not humbl'd - the Women & children suffer Amazingly at this advanced Season of the Year in being transported in so frozen a Climate - It is now past twelve o Clock therefore My blessing I wish for a good nights Repose & will mention you in my prayers
Adeiu for to Night Adieu
[inserted on top right corner of page 1]
My paper is so full & I'm so hurri'd that I've no opportunity writing any more Give my Love to Harry
[docket]
Janry 1776
Genl Knox.
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Knox, Lucy Flucker, 1756-1824
Prescott, Richard, 1725-1788
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Howe, William Howe, Viscount, 1729-1814
Knox, William, 1756-1795
Allen, Ethan, 1738-1789

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Military HistoryPrisoner of WarFort TiconderogaLove LettersMarriageWomen's HistoryRevolutionary WarTransportationArtillerySiege of BostonTravelLoyalistPovertyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyContinental ArmyPresident

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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