Henry Knox (July 25, 1750 – October 25, 1806) was an American bookseller from Boston who became the chief artillery officer of the Continental Army and later the nation's first Secretary of War. He was a trusted adviser, and a life-long friend, of George Washington.
- It is not easy to conceive the difficulties we have had.
- Knox to George Washington on the difficulties of taking to Boston. Reported in David McCullough, 1776 (2005), p. 83.
- I most earnestly beg you to spare no trouble or necessary expense in getting these.
- Knox to a local officer while taking cannon to Boston. Reported in David McCullough, 1776 (2005), p. 83.
- It is a melancholy reflection that our modes of population have been more destructive to the Indian natives than the conduct of the conquerors of Mexico and Peru. The evidence of this is the utter extirpation of nearly all the Indians in the most populous parts of the Union. A future historian may mark the causes of this destruction of the human race in sable colors. Although the present Government of the United States cannot with propriety be involved in the oppropbrium, yet it seems necessary however, in order to render their attention upon this subject strongly characteristic of their justice, that some powerful attempts should be made to tranquilize the frontiers, particularly those south of the Ohio.
- Trusting that...we shall have a fine fall of snow....I hope in sixteen or seventeen days to be able to present to your Excellency a noble train of artillery.
- Knox to George Washington on when the cannon would arrive. Reported in David McCullough, 1776 (2005), p. 83.
- We shall cut no small figure through the country with our cannon.
- Knox to his wife, on the difficulties of dragging Cannon. Reported in David McCullough, 1776 (2005), p. 83.
- The eyes of all America are upon us, as we play our part in posterity will bless or curse us.
- Knox on the Declaration of Independence. Reported in David McCullough, 1776 (2005), p. 83.
- We want great men who, when fortune frowns, will not be discouraged.
- Reported in David McCullough, 1776 (2005), p. 201.
- Were an energetic and judicious system to be proposed with your signature it would be a circumstance highly honorable to your fame . . . and doubly entitle you to the glorious republican epithet, The Father of your Country.
- Letter to George Washington, urging Washington to attend the Philadelphia Convention. (March 19, 1787)
Quotes about Henry Knox
- Secretary of War Henry Knox told the army commander of Fort Washington (where Cincinnati is today) that "to extend a defensive and efficient protection to so extensive a frontier, against solitary, or small parties of enterprising savages, seems altogether impossible. No other remedy remains, but to extirpate, utterly, if possible, the said Banditti." These orders could not be implemented with a conventional army engaged in regular warfare. Although federal officers commanded the army, the fighters were nearly all drawn from militias made up primarily of squatter settlers from Kentucky. They were unaccustomed to army discipline but fearless and willing to kill to get a piece of land to grab or some scalps for bounty.
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (2014)