« ForrigeFortsett »
these Pennsylvania levies, who have now mutinied, are recruits, and soldiers of a day, who have not borne the heat and burden of the war, and who can have, in reality, very few hardships to complain of; and when we at the same time recollect that those soldiers, who have lately been furloughed from this army, are the veterans who have patiently endured hunger, nakedness, and cold; who have suffered and bled without a murmur, and who with perfect good order, have retired to their homes, without a settlement of their accounts, or a farthing of money in their pockets; we shall be as much astonished at the virtues of the latter, as we are struck with horrour and detestation at the proceedings of the former ; and every candid mind, without indulging ill grounded prejudices, will un. doubtedly make the proper discrimination.”
On the 25th of November, the British troops evacuated New-York. General WASHINGTON, accompanied by Governour Clinton, by a number of other civil and military officers, and by many respectable citizens, 'make his publick entry on horseback into the city.
His military course being honourably and success. fully terminated, the painful task remained to bid adieu to the companions of his toils and dangers. The clos. ing interview took place on the 4th of December. At noon the principal officers of the army assembled at Francis's tavern, and their General soon entered the room. His emotions were too great for concealment. Filling a glass of wine he turned to them and said, “ With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you ; I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy, as your former ones have been glorious and honourable.” He drank the wine, and proceeded. “I cannot come to each of you to take my leave, but shall be obliged to you, if each of you will come and take me by the hand." General Knox being the nearest, turned to him. Incapable of utterance, General WASHINGTON grasped
his hand and embraced him. In the same affecting manner, he took leave of each succeeding officer. From every eye dropped the tear of sensibility, and not a single word interrupted the tenderness of the scene. He immediately left the room, and passed through a corps of light infantry, on his way to White Hall, where a barge waited to convey him to Powles' Hook. The whole company followed with feelings which words cannot express. Having entered the barge, he turned, and waving his hat, bade them a silent adieu.
Congress was then in session at Annapolis. To this honourable body, the General immediately repaired to resign his military command.*
* On his way to Annapolis, he stopped at Philadelphia to settle his accounts; of which transaction Dr. Gordon makes the following statement.
“ While in the city, he delivered in his accounts to the Comptroller, down to December 13th, all in his own hand-writing, and every entry made in the most particular manner, stating the occasion of each charge, so as to give the least trouble in examining and comparing them with the vouchers, with which they were attended. The heads are as follows, copied from the folio manuscript paper book in the file of the treasury office, No. 3700, being a black box of tin, containing, under lock and key, both that
and the vouchers. Total of Expenditures from 1775 to 1783, ex
clusive of Provisions from Commissaries and Contractors, and of liquors, &c. from them and others,
£3387 14 4 * Secret intelligence and service,
1982 10 0 Spent in reconnoitring and travelling,
1874 88 Miscellaneous charges,
2952 Expended besides, dollars according to the scale of depreciation,
6114 14 0
£16,311 17 1 ** Two hundred guineas advanced to General M'Dougal are not included in the £1982 10, not being yet settled, but included in some of the other charges, and so reckoned in the general sum."
He arrived on the 19th, and on the next day informed Congress of his desire to resign into their hands the commission with which they had invested him as Commander in Chief of the American armies; and he asked in what form he should present his resignation. Congress resolved that it should be at a publick audi. ence on the succeeding Tuesday. When the moment of this interesting transaction arrived, the gallery was crowded with spectators; and many of the civil officers of the state and of the principal officers of the
Note. 104,364 of the dollars were received after March, 1780, and although credited forty for one, many did not fetch at the rate of a hundred for one, while 27,775 of them are re. turned without deducting any thing from the above account (and, therefore, actually made a present of to the publick.) (General WASHINGTON's account) from June, 1775, to the end of June, 1783,
£16,311 17 1 Expenditure from July 1, 1783, to December 13,
1717 54 ( Added afterwards) from thence to December 28,
213 84 Mrs. Washington's travelling expenses in coming to the General and returning,
. 1064 10
£19,306 119 Lawful money of Virginia, the same as the
Massachusetts, or £14,479 18 97, sterling.
« The General entered in his book-" I find, upon the final adjustment of these accounts, that I am a considerable loser -my disbursements falling a good deal short of my receipts, and the money I had upon hand of my own: for besides the sums I carried with me to Cambridge, in 1775 I received monies afterwards on private account in 1777, and since which (except small sums that I had occasion to apply to private uses) were all expended in the publick service; through hurry I suppose, and the perplexity of business (for I know not how else to account for the deficiency) I have omitted to charge the same, whilst every debit against me is here credited. July 1, 1783."
the French Consul General, and a large body of respectable citizens were admitted to the floor of the Hall. The members of Congress, representing the sovereignty of the nation, were seated and covered. At twelve o'clock, General WASHINGTON was introduced and conducted to a chair. After a short interval the Secretary commanded silence. The President then informed the general, “ that the United States in Congress assembled, were prepared to receive his communications." With dignity of manner suited to the occasion, he arose and addressed them : “ Mr. PRESIDENT,
" The great events, on which my resignation depended, having at length taken place, I have now the honour of offering my sincere congratulations to Con. gress, and of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.
Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable nation, I resign, with satisfaction, the appointment I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.
“ The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine expectations; and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received from my countrymen, increases with every review of the momentous contest.
“ While I repeat my obligations to the army in general, I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge, in this place, the peculiar services and distinguished merits of the gentlemen who have been attached to my person during the war. It was impos
sible the choice of confidential officers to compose my family should have been more fortunate. Permit me, sir, to recommend in particular, those who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favourable notice and patronage of Congress.
“ I consider it as an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them to his holy keeping.
“ Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action, and bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of publick life."
Having advanced to the chair and delivered the President his Commission, he received from him the following reply: SIR,
" The United States in Congress assembled, receive, with emotions too affecting for utterance, the solemn resignation of the authorities under which you have led their troops with success, through a perilous and a doubtful war.
“ Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights, you accepted the sacred charge, before it had formed alliances, and whilst it was without funds or a government to support you.
“ You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, invariably regarding the rights of the civil power, through all disasters and changes. You have by the love and confidence of your fellow citizens, enabled them to display their martial genius, and transmit their fame to posterity. You have persevered, till these United States, aided by a magnanimous king and nation, have been enabled under a just Providence, to close the war in freedom,