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ther alternative, impracticable in their nature? But here, gentlemen, I will drop the curtain, because it would be as imprudent in me to assign my reasons for this opinion, as it would be insulting to your con ception to suppose you stood in need of them. A moment's reflection will convince every dispassionate mind of the physical impossibility of carrying either proposal into execution. There might, gentlemen, be an impropriety in my taking notice, in this address to you, of an anonymous production ;-but the manner in which that performance has been introduced to the army; the effect it was intended to have, together with soine other circumstances, will amply justify my observation on the tendency of that writing.
“With respect to the advice given by the author, to suspect the man who shall recommend moderate measures and longer forbearance, I spurn it, as every man who regards that liberty and reveres that justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must; for, if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us. The freedom of speech may be taken away,
and dumb and silent wo may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. I cannot ir justice to my own belief, and what I have great rea. son to conceive is the intention of Congress, concludo this address, without giving it as my decided opinion, that that honourable body entertain exalted sentiments of the services of the army, and from a full conviction of its merits and sufferings, will do it complete justice. That their endeavours to discover and establish funds for this purpose have been unwearied, and will not cease until they have succeeded, I have not a doubt.
“ But like all other large bodies, where there is a va riety of different interests to reconcile, their determi nations are slow. Why then should we distrust them And in consequence of that distrust, adopt measures
which may cast a shade over that glory which has been 80 justly acquired, and tarnish the reputation of an army which is celebrated through all Europe for its fortitude and patriotisrn ? And for what is this done? To bring the object we seek nearer ? No; most cer lainly, in iny opinion, it will cast it at a greater distanice. For myself, (and I take no merit in giving the assurance, being induced to it from principles of gra titude, veracity, and justice, and a grateful sense of the confidence you have ever placed in me) a recollection of the cheerful assistance and prompt obedience I have experienced from you, under every vicissitude of for tune, and the sincere affection I feel for an army have so long had the honour to command, will oblige me to declare in this publick and solemn manner, that in the attainment of complete justice for all your toils and dangers, and in the gratification of every wish, so far as may be done consistently with the great duty ! owe my country, and those powers we are bound to respect, you may freely command my services to the utmost extent of my abilities.
“ While I give you these assurances, and pledge myself in the most unequivocal manner, to exert whatever abilities I am possessed of in your favour, let me entreat you, gentlemen, on your part, not to take any measures, which viewed in the calm light of reason, will lessen the dignity, and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained :-let me request you to rely on the plighted faith of your country, and place a fuil confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress ; that previous to your dissolution as an army, they will cause all your accounts to be fairly liquidated, as directed in the resolutions which were published to you two days ago ; and that they will adopt the most effectual measures in their power to render ample justico to you for
faithful and meritorious services. And let ma conjure you, in the name of our common coun try, as vou value your own sacred honour : as you
respect the rights of humanity ; and as you regard the military and national character of America ; to express your utmost horrour and detestation of the man who wishes, under any specious pretences, to overturn the liberties of our country; and who wickedly attempts to open the floodgates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire in blood.
“ By thus determining, and thus acting, you wil' pursue the plain and direct road to the attainment of your wishes; you will defeat the insidious designs of our enemies, who are compelled to resort from open force to secret artifice. You will give one more distinguished proof of unexampled patriotism and patient virtue, rising superiour to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings; and you will by the dignity of your conduct afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.”
In the judgment, honour, and friendship of their General, the officers placed unbounded confidence ; and his recommendations carried irresistible weight. The most desperate had not the hardihood to oppose his advice. General Knox moved, and Brigadier General Putnam seconded a resolution, “ assuring him that the officers reciprocated his affectionate expressions with the greatest sincerity of which the human heart is capable,” which passed unanimously. On motion of General Putnam a committee w?s then chosen, consisting of General Knox, Colonel Brooks, and Captain Heywood, to prepare resolutions on the business before them. They reported the following resolutions, which on mature deliberation passed unanimously,
“i Resolved unanimously, that at the commencement of the present war, the officers of the American army engaged in the service of their country from the puront love and attachment to the rights and liberties of
human nature ; which motives still exist in the highest degree ; and that no circumstances of distress or danger shall induce a conduct that may tend to sully the reputation and glory which they have acquired, at the price of their blood and eight years faithful services.
6 Resolved unanimously, that the army continue to have an unshaken confidence in the justice of Congress and their country, and are fully convinced that the Representatives of America will not disband or disperse the army until their accounts are liquidated, the balances accurately ascertained, and adequate funds established for payment; and in this arrangement, the officers expect that the half pay, or a commutation for it, should be efficaciously comprehended.
66 Resolved unanimously, that his Excellency the Commander in Chief be requested to write to his Excellency the President of Congress, earnestly entreating the most speedy decision of that honourable body upon the subject of our late address, which was forwarded by a Committee of the army, some of whom are waiting upon Congress for the result. In the alternative of peace or war, this event would be highly satisfactory, and would produce immediate tranquillity in the minds of the army, and prevent any further inachinations of designing men, to sow discord between the civil and military powers of the United States.
“ On motion, resolved unanimously, that the oflicers of the American army view with abhorrence and re. ject with disdain, the infamous propositions contained in a late anonymous address to the officers of the
army, and resent with indignation the secret attempts of some unknown persons to collect the officers together, in a manner totally subversive of all discipline and good order.
“Resolved unanimously, that the thanks of the offi. cers of the army be given to the Committee w/10 pre. souted to Congress the late address of the art ly, for
the wisdom and prudence with which they have con. ducted that business; and that a copy of the proceedings of this day, be transmitted by the President to Major General M’Dougal; and that he be requested to continue his solicitations at Congress, until the objects of his mission are accomplished.”
Machinations which threatened the army with dis grace, and the country with ruin, being thus happily suppressed, General WASHINGTON without delay executed his promise to the officers; and in a letter to Congress with feeling and force supported their claims upon their country.
Soon after these proceedings, nine states concurred in a resolution, commuting the half pay into a sum equal to five years' whole pay. Still Congress depended on the states to furnish the funds to enable them to fulfil this engagement.
In April the ratification of the preliminary articles of peace between France and Great Britain was received, and on the 19th of that month, a cessation of hostilities was proclaimed in the American camp.
In June General WASHINGTON addressed a circular letter on the important interests of the Union, to the Governors of the several states.-It began,
Sir, “ The great object for which I had the honour to hold an appointment in the service of my country, being accomplished, I am now preparing to resign it into the hands of Congress, and return to that domestick retirement, v:hich it is well known, I left with the greatest reluctance; a retirement for which I have never ceased to sigh through a long and painful ahsence, in which (remote from the noise and trouble of the world) I meditate to pass the remainder of life in a state of undisturbed repose ; but, before I carry this resolution into effect, I think it a duty incumbent on me to make this my last official communication, to congratulate you on the glorious events which Heaven