« PreviousContinue »
prise, you have little to expect from them. CHAP. VIII. They ought to have such allowances, as will 1776. enable them to live like, and support the cha. racters of gentlemen; and not be driven by a scanty pittance to the low and dirty arts which many of them practise, to filch the public of more than the difference of pay would amount to, upon an ample allowance. Besides, something is due to the man who puts his life in your hands, hazards his health, and forsakes the sweets of domestic enjoyments. Why a captain in the continental service should receive no more than five shillings currency per day, for performing the same duties that an officer of the same rank in the British service receives ten shillings sterling for, I never could conceive; especially, when the latter is provided with every necessary he requires upon the best terms, and the former can scarcely procure them at any rate. There is nothing that gives a man consequence, and renders him fit for command, like a support that renders him inde. pendent of every body but the state he serves.
“With respect to the men, nothing but a good bounty can obtain them upon a permanent establishment, and for no shorter time than the continuance of the war ought they to be engaged; as facts incontestibly prove that the difficulty and cost of inlistments increase with time. When the army was first raised at Cambridge, I am persuaded the men might
CHAP. Vill. have been got without a bounty for the war :: 1776. after that, they began to see that the contest
was not likely to end so speedily as was ima. gined, and to feel their consequence by remarking, that to get their militia in, in the course of last year, many towns were induced to give them a bounty. Foreseeing the evils resulting from this, and the destructive conse. quences which would unavoidably follow short inlistments, I took the liberty, in a long letter, (date not now recollected as my letter book is not here) to recommend the inlistments for and during the war, assigning such reasons for it, as experience has since convinced me, were well founded. At that time, twenty dollars would, I am persuaded, have engaged the men for this term : but it will not do to look back, and if the present opportunity is slipped, I am persuaded that twelve months more will increase our difficulties fourfold. I shall there. fore take the liberty of giving it as my opinion, that a good bounty be immediately offered, aided by the proffer of at least a hundred, or a hundred and fifty acres of land, and a suit of clothes, and a blanket, to each non-commissioned officer and soldier, as I have good authority for saying that, however high the men's pay may appear, it is barely sufficient, in the present scarcity and dearness of all kinds of goods, to keep them in clothes, much less to afford support to their families. If this en.
couragement then is given to the men, and CHAP. VIII. such pay allowed to the officers, as will induce 1776. gentlemen of liberal character and liberal sentiments to engage, and proper care and caution be used in the nomination (having more regard to the characters of persons than the number of men they can inlist) we should in a little time have an army able to cope with any that can be opposed to it, as there are excellent materials to form one out of; but whilst the only merit an officer possesses is his ability to raise men; while those men consider and treat him as an equal, and in the character of an officer, regard him no more than a broomstick, being mixed together as one common herd; no order nor discipline can prevail, nor will the officer ever meet with that respect which is essentially necessary to due subordination.
"To place any dependence upon militia, is assuredly resting upon a broken staff. Men just dragged from the tender scenes of domestic life; unaccustomed to the din of arms; totally unacquainted with every kind of military skill; which, being followed by a want of confidence in themselves, when opposed to troops regularly trained, disciplined, and appointed; superior in knowledge and superior in arms; makes them timid and ready to fly from their own shadows. Besides, the sudden change in their manner of living, particularly in their lodging, brings on sickness in many,
CHAP. VII. impatience in all; and such an unconquerable 1776. desire of returning to their respective homes,
that it not only produces shamefuland scandalous desertions among themselves, but infuses the like spirit in others. Again, men accustomed to unbounded freedom, and no control, cannot brook the restraint which is indispensably necessary to the good order and government of an army; without which, licentiousness and every kind of disorder triumphantly reign. To bring men to a proper degree of subordination, is not the work of a day, a month, or a year; and unhappily for us, and the cause we are engaged in, the little discipline I have been labouring to establish in the army under my immediate command, is in a manner done away by having such a mixture of troops, as have been called together within these few months.
“ Relaxed and unfit as our rules and regulations of war are for the government of an army; the militia (those properly so called, for of these we have two sorts, the six months men and those sent in as a temporary aid,) do not think themselves subject to them, and therefore take liberties which the soldier is punished for. This creates jealousy, jealousy begets dissatisfaction, and these by degrees ripen into mutiny; keeping the whole army in a confused and disordered state; rendering the time of those, who wish to see regularity and good order pre
vail, more unhappy than words can describe ; CHAP. VUL besides this, such repeated changes take place, 1776. that all arrangement is set at nought; and the constant fluctuation of things deranges every plan, as fast as it is adopted.
“ These, sir, congress may be assured, are but a small part of the inconveniencies which might be enumerated, and attributed to militia: but there is one that merits particular attention, and that is the expense. Certain I am, that it would be cheaper to keep fifty, or an hundred thousand men in constant pay, than to depend upon half the number, and supply the other half occasionally by militia. The time the latter is in pay, before and after they are in camp, assembling and marching; the waste of ammunition; the consumption of stores which, in spite of every resolution and requisition of congress, they must be furnished with, or sent home; added to other incidental expenses consequent upon their coming, and conduct in camp, surpass all idea; and destroy every kind of regularity, and economy, which you could establish among fixed and settled troops; and will, in my opinion, prove (if the scheme is adhered to) the ruin of our cause.
“The jealousies of a standing army, and the i evils to be apprehended from one, are remote;
and, in my judgment, situated and circumstanced as we are, not at all to be dreaded ; but the consequence of wanting one, according