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which has an air of dictating terms to their country, by taking advantage of the necessity of the moment.

“ The declaration they have made to the state, at so critical a time, that unless they obtain re. lief in the short period of three days, they must be considered out of the service,' has very much that aspect; and the seeming relaxation of contin. uing until the state can have a reasonable time to provide other officers, will be thought only a superficial veil. I am now to request that you will convey my sentiments to the gentlemen concerned, and endeavour to make them sensible of their error.

The service for which the regiment was intended, will not admit of delay. It must at all events march on Monday morning, in the first place to this camp, and further directions will be given when it arrives. I am sure I shall not be mistaken in expecting a prompt and cheerful obedience."

The officers did not explicitly recede from their claims, but were brought round so far as to continue in service. In an address to Gen. Washington, they declared “their unhappiness that any step of theirs should give him pain ;” but alleged in justification of themselves, " that repeated memorials had been presented to their legislature, which had been neglected ;' and added, “ we have lost all confidence in that body. Reason and experience forbid that we should have any. Few of us have private fortunes ; many have fainilies who already are suffering every thing that can be received from an ungrateful country. Are we then to suffer all the inconveniences, fatigues, and dangers, of a military life, while our wives and our children are perishing for want of common necessaries at home; and that without the most distant prospect of reward, for our pay is now only nominal ? We are sensible that your excellency cannot wish or desire this from us.

“We are sorry that you should imagine we meant to disobey orders. It was, and still is, our determination to march with our regiment, and to do the duty of officers, until the legislature should have a reasonable time to appoint others; but no longer.

“We beg leave to assure your excellency, that we have the highest sense of your ability and virtues; that executing your orders has ever given us pleasure ; that we love the service, and we love our country ; but when that country is so lost to virtue and to justice as to forget to support its servants, it then becomes their duty to retire from its service."

The ground adopted by the officers for their justification, was such as interdicted a resort to stern measures; at the same time a compliance with their demands was impossible. In this embarrassing situation, Washington took no other notice of their letter than to declare to the officers, through Gen. Maxwell, “ that while they continued to do their duty, he should only regret the part they had taken.” The legislature of New Jersey, roused by these events, made some partial provision for their troops. The officers withdrew their remonstrance, and continued to do their duty.

I had not power

The consequences. likely to result from the measures adopted by the Jersey officers being parried by the good sense and prudence of Gen. Washington, he improved the event when communicated to Congress, by urging on them the ab. solute necessity of some general and adequate provision for the officers of their army; and obseryed, " that the distresses in some corps are so great, that officers have solicited even to be supplied with the clothing destined for the common soldiery, , coarse and unsuitable as it was. to comply with the request.

“ The patience of men animated by a sense of duty and honour, will support them to a certain point, beyond which it will not go. I doubt not Congress will be sensible of the danger of an extreme in this respect, and will pardon my anxiety to obviate it."

The members of Congress were of different opinions respecting their military arrangements. While some were in unison with the General for a permanent national army, well equipped and am. ply supported, others were apprehensive of dan. ger to their future liberties from such establishments, and gave a preference to inlistments for short periods, not exceeding a year. These also were partial to state systems, and occasional calls of the militia, instead of a numerous regular force, at the disposal of Congress or the commander in chief. From the various aspect of public affairs, and the frequent change of members composing the national legislature, sometimes one party predominated, and sometimes another. On the whole, the support received by Washington was

far short of what economy, as well as sound poli. cy, required.

The American army in these years was not only deficient in clothing, but in food. The seasons both in 1779 and 1780, were unfavourable to the crops. The labours of the farmers had of . ten been interrupted by calls for militia duty. The current paper money was so depreciated as to be deemed no equivalent for the productions of the soil.

So great were the necessities of the American army, that Gen. Washington was obliged to call on the magistrates of the adjacent coun. ties for specified quantities of provisions, to be supplied in a given number of days. At other times he was compelled to send out detachments of his troops to take provisions at the point of the bay. onet from the citizens. This expedient at length failed, for the country in the vicinity of the army afforded no further supplies. These inpressments were not only injurious to the morals and discipline of the army, but tended to alienate the affections of the people. Much of the support which the American General had previously experienced from the inhabitants, proceeded from the difference of treatment they received from their own army compared with what they suffered from the British. The General, whom the inhabitants hitherto regarded as their protector, had now. no alternative but to disband his troops, or to support them by force. The army looked to him for provisions; the inhabitants for protection of their property. To supply the one and not offend the other, seemed little less than an impossibility. To preserve order and subordination in an army of free republicans, even when well fed, paid, and clothed, would have been a work of difficulty ; but to retain them in service and restrain them with discipline, when destitute not only of the comforts, but often of the necessaries of life, required address and abilities of such magnitude as are rarely found in human nature. In this choice of difficulties, Gen. Washington not only kept his army together, but conducted with so much discretion as to command the approbation both of the army and of the citizens.


Nothing of decisive importance could be attempted with an army so badly provided, and so deficient in numbers. It did not exceed thirteen thousand men, while the British, strongly fortified in New York and Rhode Island, amounted to sixteen or seventeen thousand. These were supported by a powerful fleet, which, -by commanding the coasts and the rivers, furnished easy means for concentrating their force in any given point before the Americans could march to the same. This disparity was particularly striking in the movements of the two armies in the vicinity of the Hudson. Divisions of both were frequently posted on each side of that noble river. While the British could cross directly over and unite their forces in any enterprise, the Americans could not safely effect a correspondent junction, unless they took a consid. erable circuit to avoid the British shipping:

To preserve West Point and its dependences, was a primary object with Washington. To secure these he was obliged to refuse the pressing applications from the neighbouring states for large detachments from the continental army for their

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