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command. On this occasion he wrote to a gentleman in New Engla:d as follows: “ I çan assure you, that no person ever heard me drop an expression that had a tendency to resignation. The same principles that led me to embark in the opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain, operate with additional force at this day; nor is it my
desire to withdraw my services, while they are considered of importance in the present contest; but to report a design of this kind, is among the arts, which those who are endeavouring to effect a change, are practising to bring it to pass. I have said, and still say, that there is. no officer in the service of the United States who would return to the sweets of domestic ļife with more heartfelt joy than I should. But I would have this declaration accompanied with these sentiments, that while the public are satisfied with my endeavours, I mean not to shrink from the caụse ; but the moment her voice, not that of faction, calls upon me to resign, I shall do it with as, much pleasure as ever the wearięd traveller retired to rest.
These machinations did not abate the ardor of Washington in the common cause. His patriotism was too solid to be shaken either by envy or ingratitude: nor was the smallest effect produced in diminishing his army. Even
well-earned reputation. Zeal the most active, and services the most beneficial, and at the same time disinterested, had rivetted him in the affections of his country and the the victorious troops under general Gates, though comparison highly flattering to their vanity, had been made between them and the army of Pennsylvania, clung to Washington as their political saviour. The resentment of the people was generally excited against those who were supposed to be engaged in, or friendly to the scheme of appointing a new commander in chief to the American army,
CAMPAIGN OF 1778.
-Washington sooths the irritation between the
to prepare them for an early and active cam7778. paign in the year 1778. He laboured to
impress on congress the necessity of having
He transmitted to the
While this. exhibited to each its deficiency, it gave the general an opportunity tv urge on them, rea spectively, the necessity of completing their quotas.
Congress deputed a committee of their body to reside in camp, and, in concert with general Washington, to investigate the state of the army, and to report such reforms as might be deemed expedient.
This com mittee, known by the name of the committee
of arrangement, repaired to Valley Forge in January 1778. Washington laid before them 1778. à statement, in which a comprehensive view of the army was taken, and in which he minutely pointed ont what he deemed necessary for the correction of existing abuses, and for the advancement of the service, He recommended, as essentially necessary, that, in addition to present compensation, provision should be made, by half pay and a pen. sionary establishment, for the support of the officers, so as to render their commissions valuable. He pointed out the insufficiency of the pay (especially in its present state of depreciation) for any decent subsistence; the sacrifices they had already made; and the unreasonableness of expecting that they would continue patiently to bear such an over proportion of the common calamities growing out of the necessary war in which all were equally engaged.
The many resignations that had already taken place, and the probability that more would follow, to the great injury of the service; the impossibility of keeping up a strict discipline among officers, whose com missions, in a pecuniary view, were so far from being worth holding, that they were the means of impoverishing them; these, and
other weighty considerations, were accompanied with a declaration by general Washington, “ that he neither could, nor would receive the smallest benefit, from the proposed establishment, and that he had no other inducement in urging it, but a full conviction of its utility and propriety.”
In the same statement, the commander in chief painted out to the committee of congress, “ the defects in the quartermaster's departments, connected with the support and com: fort of the army; and also urged the necessity of each state completing its quota, by draughts from the militia.” The statement concludes with these impressive wordsaming
Upon the whole, gentlemen, I donbt not you are fully impressed with the defects of our present military system, and with the necessity of speedy and decisive measures, to place it on a satisfactory footing. The dis, agreeable picture I have given you of the wants and sufferings of the army, and the discontent reigning among the officers, is a just representation of evils equally melanchaly and important; and, unless effectual semedies be applied without loss of time, the most alarming and ruinous consequences are to be apprehended.”