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some other circumstances, will amply justify my observations 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 we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter. I cannot in justice to iny own belief, and what I have great reason to conceive is the intention of congress, conclude this address, without giving it as my decided opinion, that that honorable body entertain exalted sentiments of the services of the army, and from full conviction of its merits and sufferings will do it complete jus. tice: that their endeavors to discover and establish funds for this purpose have been unwearied, and will not cease 'till they have succeeded, I have not a doubt. But like all other large bodies, where there is a variety of different interests to reconcile, their determinations are slow. Why then should we distruśt them ? and in consequence of that distrust, adopt measures which may cast a shade over that glory which has been so justly acquired, and tarnish the reputation of an army which is celebrated through all Europe for its fortitude and patriotism? And for what is this done? To bring the object we seek nearer! No, most certainly in my opinion, it will cast it at a greater distance. For myself, and I take no merit in giving the assurance, being induced to it from principles of gratitude, veracity and justice ; 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 fortune, and the sincere affection I feel for an army I have so long had the honor to command, will oblige me to declare in this public 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 I owe my country, and those powers we are bound to respect, you may freely command my services to the utmose
extent of my abilities. While'I give you these assurances, and pledge myself in the most unequivocal manner to exert whate. ver ability I am possessed of in your favor, let me entreat you, gentlenien, 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 full 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 justice to you, for your faithful and meritorious services. And let me conjure you in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost horror 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 flood-gates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire in blood.
By thus determining and thus acting, you will pursue thé 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 superior 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."
NEWBURGH, March 181b, 1783.
HE result of the proceedings of the grand convention of
the officers, which I have the honor of enclosing to your excellency for the inspection of congress, will, I flatter myself, be considered as the last glorious proof of patriotism which could have been given by men who aspired to the distinction of a pa. triot army; and will not only confirm their claim to the justice, but will encrease their title to the gratitude of their country, Having seen the proceedings on the part of the army terminate with perfect unanimity, and in a manner entirely consonant to my wishes ; being impressed with the liveliest sentiments of af. fection for those who have so long, so patiently and so cheerfully suffered and fought under my immediate direction ; having from motives of justice, duty and gratitude, spontaneously offered myself as an advocate for their rights; and having been requested to write to your excellency, earnestly entreating the most speedy decision of congress upon the subjects of the late address from the army to that honorable body; it now only remains for me to perform the task I have assumed, and to intercede in their behalf, as I now do, that the sovereign power will be pleased to verify the predictions I have pronounced of, and the confidence the army have reposed in the justice of their country.
and here I humbly conceive it is altogether unneces. sary (while I am pleading the cause of an army, which have done and suffered more than any other army ever did in the defence of the rights and liberties of human nature) to expatiate on their claims to the most ample compensation for their meria torious services, because they are known perfectly to the whole world, and because, (although the topics are inexhaustable) enough has already been said on the subject. To prove these assertions, to evince that my sentiments have ever been uniform, and to shew what my ideas of the rewards in question have al. ways been, I appeal to the archives of congress, and call on those sacred deposites to witness for me.
And in order that my observations and arguments in favor of a future adequate provision for the officers of the army may be brought to remem,
brance again, and considered in a single point of view, without giving congress the trouble of having recourse to their files, I will beg leave to transmit herewith an extract from a representation made by me to a committee of congress, so long ago as the 29th of January 1778, and also the transcript of a letter to the president of congress, dated near Pasaic Falls, October 11th, 1780.
That in the critical and perilous moment when the last mentioned coinmunication was inade, there was the utmost danger a dissolution of the army would have taken place unless measures similar to those recommended had been adopted, will not admit a doubt. That the adoption of the resolution granting half pay for life has been attended with all the happy consequences I had foretold, so far as respected the good of the service, let the astonishing contrast between the state of the army at this instant, and at the former period, determine. And that the establishment of funds, and security of the payment of all the just demands of the army, will be the most certain means of preserving the national faith and future tranquillity of this ex. tensive continent, is my decided opinion,
By the preceding remarks it will readily be imagined, that instead of retracting and reprehending (from farther experience and reflection) the mode of compensation so strenuously urged in the enclosures, I am more and more confirmed in the senti. ment, and if in the wrong, suffer me to please myself with the grateful delusion,
For if, besides the simple payment of their wages, a farther compensation is not due to the sufferings and sacrifices of the officers, then have I been mistaken indeed. If the whole army have not merited whatever a grateful people can bestow, then have I been beguiled by prejudice, and built opinion on the basis of error. If this country should not in the event perform every thing which has been requested in the late memorial to congress, then will
iny belief become vain, and the hope that has been excited, void of foundation. And if, (as has been suggested for the purpose of inflaming their passions) the officers of the army
are to be the only sufferers by this revolution ; “if retiring from the field they are to grow old in poverty, wretchedness and contempt--if they are to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honor,” then shall I have learned what ingratitude is, then shall I have realized a tale which will embitter every moment of my future life.
But I am under no such apprehensions : a country rescued by their arms from impending ruin, will never leave unpaid the debt of gratitude.
SHOULD any intemperate or improper warmth have mingled itself amongst the foregoing observations, I must entreat your excellency and congress, it may be attributed to the effusion of an honest zeal in the best of causes, and that
my peculiar situation
may be my apology, and I hope I need not on this momentous occasion make any new protestations of personal disinterestedness, having ever renounced for myself the idea of pecuniary reward. The consciousness of having attempted faithfully to discharge my duty, and the approbation of my country, will be a sufficient
for services. I have the honor to be, &c. &c.
Go: WASHINGTON, His excellency the president in congress.
ADDRESS OF GENERAL WASHINGTON TO CONGRESS, ON RE
SIGNING HIS MILITARY COMMISSION.
DecemBER 23, 1783.
at length taken place, I have now the honor of offering my sincere congratulations to congress, and of presenting myself before them, to surrender into their hands the trust con.