Slike strani

in which a due attention will be paid to the importance of placing the militia of the Union upon a regular and respectable footing. It this should be the case, I should beg leave to urge the great advantage of it in the strongest terms.

The militia of this country must be considered as the palladium of our security, and the first effectual resort in case of hostility. It is essential, therefore, that the same system should pervade the whole ; that the formation and discipline of the militia of the continent, should be absolutely uniform ;

and that the same species of arms, accoutrements, and military ap. paratus, should be introduced in every part of the United S:ates. No one, who has not learned it from experience, can conceive the difficulty, expence, and confusion, which result from a contrary system; or the vague arrangements which have hitherto prevailed.

Ir, in treating of political points, a greater latitude than usual has been taken in the course of the address, the importance of the crisis, and the magnitude of the objects in discus. sion, must be my apology. It is, however, neither my wish nor expectation, that the preceding observations should claim any regard, except so far as they shall appear to be dictated by a good intention, consonant to the immutable rules of justice ; calculated to produce a liberal system of policy, aud founded on whatever experience may have been acquired by a long and close attention to public business. Here I might speak with more confidence, from my actual observations; and if it would not swell this letter (already too prolix) beyond the bounds I had presbribed myself, I could demonstrate to every mind, open to conviction, than in less time, and with much less exe pence than has been incurred, the war might have been brought to the same happy conclusion, if the resources of the continent could have been properly called forth ; that the distresses and disappointments which have very often occurred, have, in too many instances, resulted more from a want of energy in the continental government, than a deficiency of means in the particular states: that the inefficacy of the measures, arising from the want of an adequate authority in the supreme power, from a partial compliance with the requisitions of congress, in some of the states, and from a failure of punctuality in others, while they tended to damp the zeal of those who were more willing to exert themselves, served also to accumulate the expences of the war, and to frustrate the best concerted plans; and that the discouragement occasioned by the complicated difficulties and embarrassments, in which our affairs were by this means involved, would have long ago produced the dissolution of any army, less patient, less virtuous, and less persevering, than that which I have had the honor to command. But while I mention those things, which are notorious facts, as the defects of our federal constitution, particularly in the prosecution of a war, I beg it may be understood, that as I have ever taken a pleasure in gratefully acknowledging the assistance and support I have derived from every class of citizens ; so shall I always be happy to do justice to the unparallelled exertions of the individual states, on many interesting occasions.

I HAVE thus freely disclosed what I wished to make known, before I surrendered up my public trust to those who committed it to me. The task is now accomplished; I now bid adieu to your excellency, as the chief magistrate of your state; at the same time, I bid a last farewel to the cares of office, and all the employments of public life.

It remains, then, to be my final and only request, that your excellency will communicate these sentiments to your legislature, at their next meeting ; and that they may be considered as the legacy of one who has ardently wished, on all occasions, to be useful to his country, and who, even in the shade of retirement, will not fail to implore the divine benediction upon it.

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the state over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another ; for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field ; and, finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of the mind, which were the characteristics of the divine author of our blessed religion ; without an humble imitation of whose example, in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

I have the honor to be,
with much esteem and respect,
your excellency's most obedient,
and most humble servant,


(No. II.)




Rocky-HILL, near Princeton,

November 2, 1783,

HE United States in congress assembled, after giving

the most honorable testimony to the merits of the federal armies, and presenting them with the thanks of their country, for their long, eminent and faithful service, having thought proper, by their proclamation, bearing date the 18th of October last, to discharge such part of the troops as were engaged for the war, and to permit the officers on furlough to retire from service, from and after to-morrow; which proclamation having been communicated in the public papers, for the information and government of all concerned, it only remains for the commander in chief to address himself once more, and that for the last time, to the armies of the United States (however widely

dispersed individuals who compose them may be) and to bid them an affectionate-a long farewel.

But before the commander in chief takes his final leave of those he holds most dear, he wishes to indulge himself a few moments in calling to mind a slight view of the past :--he will then take the liberty of exploring, with his military friends, their future prospe&ts ; of advising the general line of conduct which in his opinion ought to be pursued ; and he will conclude the address, by expressing the obligations he feels himself under for the spirited and able assistance he has experienced from them, in the performance of an arduous office.

A CONTEMPLATION of the complete attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended, against so formidable a power, cannot but inspire us with astonishinent and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The signal interpositions of Providence, in our feeble condition, were such as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving ; while the unparallelled perseverance of the armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement, for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.

It is not the meaning, nor within the compass of this address, to detail the hardships peculiarly incident to our service, or to describe the distresses which in several instances have re. sulted from the extremes of hunger and nakedness, combined with the rigors of an inclement season : nor is it necessary to dwell on the dark side of our past affairs.

EVERY American officer and soldier must now console himself for any unpleasant circumstance which may have occurred, by a recollection of the uncommon scenes in which he has been called to act no inglorious part, and the astonishing events of which he has been a witness--events which have seldom if ever before, taken place on the stage of human action, nor can they probably ever happen again. For who has before seen a disciplined army formed at once from such raw materials? Who that was not a witness could imagine that the most violent local prejudices would cease so soon, and that men who came from the different parts of the continent, strongly disposed by the habits of education to despise and quarrel with each other, would instantly become but one patriotic band of brothers ? Or who that was not on the spot, can trace the steps by which such a won. derful revolution has been effected, and such a glorious period put to all our warlike toils ?

It is universally acknowledged, that the enlarged prospects of happiness, opened by the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, almost exceed the power of description : and shall not the brave men who have contributed so essentially to these inestimable acquisitions, retiring vi&torious from the field of war to the field of agriculture, participate in all the blessings which have been obtained ? In such a republic, who will exclude them from the rights of citizens, and the fruits of their labors? In such a country, so happily circumstanced, the pursuits of commerce, and the cultivation of the soil, will unfold to industry the certain road to competence.To those hardy soldiers who are actuated by the spirit of adventure, the fisheries will afford ample and profitable employment; and the ex: tensive and fertile regions of the west, will yield a most happy asylum to those who, fond of domestic enjoyment, are seeking personal independence. Nor is it possible to conceive that any one of the United States will prefer a national bankruptcy, and the dissolution of the union, to a compliance with the requisitions of congress, and the payment of its just debts ; so that the officers and soldiers may expect considerable assistance, in re-commencing their civil occupations, from the sums due to them from the public, which must and will most inevitably be paid.

In order to effect this desirable purpose, and remove the prejudices which may have taken possession of the minds of any of the good people of the states, it is earnestly recommended to all the troops, that with strong attachinent to the union, they should carry with them into civil society the most concili

« PrejšnjaNaprej »