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Transcribe This: Williams Declines Promotion

Brigadier General Otho H. Williams explains his reasons for declining a promotion to Henry Knox in this letter dated May 6, 1792.

While Williams describes himself as “very highly complimented” by Knox’s favorable opinion and understands that “the President is pleased to entertain of my abilities,” he writes that he “could not… accept a command in the army, even if the President were to think me worthy of commanding in chief.” Williams writes that his health has been “extremely precarious” for two years and requires much care and attention. If he accepted the position, Williams believes that the happiness of his family would “be for a time suspended, if not sacrificed.” Williams also notes that he has in his charge “a number of orphan children” which engages his “integrity and affections,” who would also “lie neglected.” Williams asks to be excused for “declining the honor proposed to be conferred on me” and writes that when it is in his power “to render any efficient service to my Country I shall be most happy in the opportunity.”

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