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respect the rights of humanity; and as you regard the military and national character of America ; to express your utmost horrour 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 floodgates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire in blood.
"By thus determining, and thus acting, you will pursue the 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 superiour 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."
In the judgment, honour, and friendship of their Ge neral, the officers placed unbounded confidence ; and his recommendations carried irresistible weight. The most desperate had not the hardihood to oppose his ad. vice. General Knox moved, and Brigadier General Putnam seconded a resolution, “ assuring him that the officers reciprocated his affectionate expressions with the greatest sincerity of which the human heart is capable,” which passed unanimously. On motion of General Putnam a committee was then chosen, consisting of General Knox, Colonel Brooks, and Captain Heywood, to prepare resolutions on the business before them. They reported the following resolutions, which on mature deliberation passed unanimously,
“ Resolved unanimously, that at the commencement of the present war, the officers of the American army engaged in the service of their country from the purest love and attachment to the rights and liberties of
human nature ; which motives still exist in the highest degree ; and that no circumstances of distress or danger shall induce a conduct that may tend to sully the reputation and glory which they have acquired, at the price of their blood and eight years faithful services.
“ Resolved unanimously, that the army continue to have an unshaken confidence in the justice of Congress and their country, and are fully convinced that the Representatives of America will not disband or disperse the army until their accounts are liquidated, the balances accurately ascertained, and adequate funds established for payment; and in this arrangement, the officers expect that the half pay, or a commutation for it, should be efficaciously comprehended,
“ Resolved unanimously, that his Excellency the Commander in Chief be requested to write to his Excellency the President of Congress, earnestly entreating the most speedy decision of that honourable body upon the subject of our late address, which was forwarded by a Committee of the army, some of whom are waiting upon Congress for the result. In the alternative of peace or war, this event would be highly satisfactory, and would produce immediate tranquillity in the minds of the army, and prevent any further machinations of designing men, to sow discord between the civil and military powers of the United States.
“On motion, resolved unanimously, that the officers of the American army view with abhorrence and reject with disdain, the infamous propositions contained in a late anonymous address to the officers of the army, and resent with indignation the secret attempts of some unknown persons to collect the officers together, in a manner totally subversive of all discipline and good order.
“Resolved unanimously, that the thanks of the officers of the army be given to the Committee who presented to Congress the late address of the army, for
the wisdom and prudence with which they have conducted that business; and that a copy of the proceedings of this day, be transmitted by the President to Major General M’Dougal; and that he be requested to continue his solicitations at Congress, until the ob. jects of his mission are accomplished.”
Machinations which threatened the army with disgrace, and the country with ruin, being thus happily suppressed, General WASHINGTON without delay executed his promise to the officers; and in a letter to Congress with feeling and force supported their claims upon their country.
Soon after these proceedings, nine states concurred in a resolution, commuting the half pay into a sum equal to five years' whole pay. Still Congress depend. ed on the states to furnish the funds to enable them to fulfil this engagement.
In April the ratification of the preliminary articles of peace between France and Great Britain was received, and on the 19th of that month, a cessation of hostilities was proclaimed in the American camp.
In June General Washington addressed a circular letter on the important interests of the Union, to the Governors of the several states.- It began,
SIR, « The great object for which I had the honour to hold an appointment in the service of my country, being accomplished, I am now preparing to resign it into the hands of Congress, and return to that domestick retirement, which it is well known, I left with the greatest reluctance ; a retirement for which I have never ceased to sigh through a long and painful absence, in which (remote from the noise and trouble of the world) I moditate to pass the remainder of life in a state of undisturbed repose ; but, before I carry this resolution into effect, I think it a duty incumbent on me to make this my last official communication, to congratulate you on the glorious events which Heaven
has been pleased to produce in our favour; to offer my sentiments respecting some important subjects which appear to me to be intimately connected with the tranquillity of the United States; to take my leave of your Excellency as a publick character, and to give my final blessing to that country in whose service I have spent the prime of my life ; for whose sake I have consumed so many anxious days and watchful nights ; and whose happiness being extremely dear to me, will always constitute no inconsiderable part of my
Impressed with the liveliest sensibility on this pleasing occasion, I will claim the indulgence of detailing the more copiously on the subject of our mutual felicitation. When we consider the magnitude of the prize we contended for, the doubtful nature of the contest, and the favourable manner in which it has terminated, we shall find the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing : this is a theme that will afford infinite delight to every benevolent and liberal mind, whether the event in contemplation be considered as a source of present enjoyment, or the parent of future happiness; and we shall have equal occasion to felicitate ourselves on the lot which Providence has assigned us, whether we view it in a natural, political, or a moral point of view.
“ The citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the sole lords and proprietors of a vast tract of continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the world, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniences of life, are now, by the late satisfactory pacification, acknowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and independency; they are from this period to be considered as the actors on a most conspicuous theatre, which seems to be peculiarly designed by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity : here they are not only surrounded with every thing that can contribute to the
completion of private and domestick enjoyment, but Heaven has crowned all its other blessings, by giving a surer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation has ever been favoured with. Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly than the recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our republick assumed its rank among the nations.
" The foundation of our empire was not laid in a gloomy age of ignorance and superstition, but at an epocha when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period: researches of the human mind after social happiness have been carried to a great extent: the treasures of knowledge acquired by the labours of phi. losophers, sages, and legislators, through a long succession of years, are laid open for use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the establishment of our forms of government: the free cultivation of letters, the unbounded extension of commerce, the progressive refinement of manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and, above all, the pure and benign light of revelation, have had a meliorating influence on mankind, and increased the blessings of society. At this auspicious period the United States came into existence as a nation, and if their citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.
“ Such is our situation, and such are our prospects ; but notwithstanding the cup of blessing is thus reached out to us, notwithstanding happiness is ours, if we have a disposition to seize the occasion, and make it our own; yet it appears to me, there is an option still left to the United States of America, whether they will be respectable and prosperous, or contemptible and miserable as a nation. This is the time of their political probation; this is the moment, when the eyes of the whole world are turned upon them; this is the