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Williams writes Knox from London

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionPierpont Morgan Library: Henry Knox Papers view image
Document Information
Date January 4, 1790
Author Name Jonathan Williams (primary) Location: London
Recipient Name Henry Knox (primary) Location: New York
Summary Jonathan William writes Henry Knox from London to discuss the French Revolution. William believes the the French Revolution is a just war for freedom which continues the American tradition of liberty, linking events in France to the American Revolution. He also hopes that the revolution may spread to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies so that they too could have democratic governments.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; Jonathan Williams; Lucy Knox; King Louis XVI; ;
Related Places New York; London; France; America; Spanish colonies; Portuguese colonies; ;
Keywords [not available]
Key Phrases nearest to a Democracy of any government in the Universe; pro forma; diamond button; his majesty's hat; one Voice in the Kingdom; king's brother; duty to come into the national assembly as a private citizen and justify himself against some suspicions relative to the sincerity of his attachment to the great cause of freedom; flame which had its focus in America; spread its influence; low countries; emancipated; absolute force of arms; inadequate to the unanimous efforts of a resolute & divided people; present my respects with the compliments of the season to your good lady; contrive in America to get this flame of equal liberty to blaze over the Spanish & Portuguese colonies; war is detestable when ambition alone is the motive; emancipation of the human race is worth almost any price; inclosed letter to our friend; contents may be communicated where necessary; Revolution in France supports itself to admiration; fable of political madness is now supported by stubborn fact; pleasure to hear that I am again restored to my family; propose to settle with it in America; Seat of Government;
Transcription

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Post paid
The Honorable
General Knox
Secretary of State for
the War Department
New York

London Jany 4 1790
Jno W
Jno Williams
London Jany 4 1790
Dear General
I know it will give you pleasure to hear that I am again restored to my Family, and that I propose to settle with it in America as near to the Seat of Government as I possibly can.
The inclosed Letter to our Friend Shaw may perhaps give him usefull tho' not any agreeble intelligence. I send it open to you in order that if he should left its contents may be communicated where necessary.
The Revolution in France Supports itself to admiration. What a few years since would have been called the [undecipherable] Fables of political Madness is now supported by Stubborn Fact. France is perhaps
perhaps the nearest to a democracy of any Government in the Universe, preserving only a monarch at the head of it 'pro forma', with no more to do with its composition than the diamond Button has with his majistys hat.
There is but one Voice in the Kingdom, and even Monsieur the Kings Brother he thought it his Duty to come into the national assembly
as a private Citizen and justify himself against some suspicions relative to the sincerity of his attachment to the great Cause of Freedom. -- This flame which had its focus in America, has spread its influence through France to the Low Countries and I am inclined to look upon that Country as already emancipated from [undecipherable] who will not be able to do more than his absolute fever of Arms will do, which notwithstanding its
greatness will be found inadequate to the unanimous efforts of a resolute & decided People.
I beg you will present my best respects with the Compliments of the Season to your good Lady & believe me to be with the most affection & respectfull regards
Dear General
Your obliged [illegible]
J Williams
London Jan. 4 1790
Cant we contrive in America to get this flame of equal Liberty to blaze over the Spanish & Portugese Colonies our namesakes? War is detestable when Ambition alone is the motive, but the emancipation of the human race is worth almost any price.
Genl Knox