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1798. The condition of the army at Valley-forge, was fat Jan. from being the most eligible or respectable; and in café,

the enemy had come out of Philadelphia, and made a
general push, would have been exceeding hazardous.
Gen. Washington was compelled by necessity to employ
the troops in making seizures; which excited the greatest
uneasiness imaginable among their best and warmest
friends, beside spreading disaffection among the people.
He ever regrets being forced upon such a measure, and
considers it among his worst misfortunes; as it not only
occasions a dreadful alarm, but never fails, even in ve
teran armies, under the most rigid and exact discipline;
to raise in the soldiery a disposition to licentiqusness;
plunder, and robbery. The relief obtained was of no

long continuance.
Feb. He thus described the distresses of the army on the

16th of February~" For some days past there has been
little less than a famine in camp. Naked and starving
as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable
patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not;
ere this, been excited by their sufferings to a general
mutiny and dispersion. This is the second time in the
present year, that we have been upon the verge of a
diffolution for want of provision.” As to clothing;
6 he was continually tantalized with accounts from all
quarters, of the prodigious quantity that was purchased
and forwarded for the use of the ariny, while none reached
them, or so badly forted as to be totally useless. The
poor foldier had a pair of stockings given him without
fhoes, or a waistcoat without a coat or blanket to his
back; and thus he derived little benefit from what he
received. Perhaps by Midsummer he may receive thick

stockings, ..

stockings, shoes, and blankets, which he will contrive 1778 to get rid of in the most expeditious manner. In this way, by an eternal round of the most stupid management, the public treasure is expended to no kind of purpose, while the men have been left to perish by inches with cold and nakedness.”

Upon a full conviction that the salvation of the cause depended on making provision for the half pay of the officers, the general communicated his thoughts to some of the congress in the following words—« With far the greatest part of mankind, interest is the governing principle. Almost every man is more or less under its influence. Motives of public virtue may, for a time, or in particular instances, actuate men to the observance of a con- , duct purely disinterested; but they are not of themselves sufficient to produce a persevering conformity, to the refined dictates and obligations of social duty. We find it exemplified in the American officers as well as in all other men. At the commencement of the dispute, in the first effusions of their zeal, and looking upon that service to be only temporary, they entered into it without paying any regard to pecuniary or selfish considerations : but finding its duration to be much longer than they at first suspected, and that instead of deriving any advantage from the hardships and dangers to which they were exposed, they on the contrary were losers by their patriotism, and fell far short of a competency to supply their wants, they have gradually abated in their ardor ;; and with many an entire disinclination to the service under its present circumstances has taken place.- When an officer's commission is valuable to him, and he fears to lose it, you may then exact obedience from him. It is

1978, not indeed consistent with reason or justice, to expect · that one set of men should make a sacrifice of property,

domestic ease and happiness, and encounter the rigors of the field, the perils and vicissitudes of war, to obtain those blessings which every citizen will enjoy in common

with them, without some adequate compensation. It · must also be a comfortless reflection to any man, that

after he may have contributed to securing the rights of his country, by the risk of his life and the ruin of his fortune, there will be no provision made for preventing himself and family from sinking into indigence and wretchedness. Nothing would serve more fully to reanimate their languishing zeal, and interest them thoroughly in the service, than a half pay and pensionary

establishment.” The general supported his interposition April in behalf of the officers, by a second letter of April the 21. 21st-" Men may speculate as they will; they may

talk of patriotism; they may draw a few examples from ancient story of great atchievements performed by its influence, but whoever builds upon it, as a fufficient basis for conducting a long and bloody war, will find themselves deceived in the end. We must take the pasfions of men as nature has given them, and those principles as a guide which are generally the rule of action: I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patrio: tism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest: but I will venture to affert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest or some reward. For a time it may of itself push men to action, to bear much, to encounter difficulties, but it will not endure unassisted by interest.-Without


arrogance, or the smallest deviation from truth, it may 1778 be said, that no history now extant, can furnish an ina stance of an army's suffering such uncommon hardships as ours has done, and bearing them with the fame patience and fortitude: To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie on, without shoes, (so that their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet) and almost as often without provision as with, marching through frost and snow, and at Christmas taking up their winter quarters within a day's march of the enemy, without a house or hut to cover them, till they could be built, and submitting to it without a murmur, is a mark of patience and obedience, which, in my opinion, can scarce be paralleled.” Within a week after, congress resolved that there should be a provision of half pay for the life of the officers; but then they further resolved, “ That nothing contained in the foregoing resolution shall be construed to extend to prevent the United States from redeeming, at any time, the half pay of such officers as they judge proper, by paying them a sum equal to six years half pay.” But before these resolves were passed, between two and three hundred officers had resigned their commissions, reckoning from last August.

General Washington being desirous of effecting an exchange of prisoners, wrote to congress, on the 7th of March " It may be thought contrary to our interest to go into an exchange, as the enemy would derive more immediate advantage from it than we should: but on principles of genuine extensive policy, independent of the consideration of compassion and justice, we are urider an obligation not to elude it, An event of this kind

Vol. III.

1776. is the general wish of the country. I know it to be the

wish of the army, and it must be the ardent wish of the unhappy sufferers themselves. Should the exchangé be deferred, till the terms of the last resolve of congress on the subject are fulfilled, it will be difficult to prevent our being generally accused with a breach of good faith. Speculative minds' may consider all our professions as mere professions, or at bests that interest and policy are to be the only arbiters of their validity. I cannot doubt that congress, in preservation of the public faith and my personal honor, will remove all impediments, that now oppose themselves to my engagements, and will authorize me, through commissioners, to settle as extensive and competent a cartel as may appear advantageous and necessary, any resolutions heretofore to the contrary nota withstanding,” Congress in a few days removed the impediment, by resolving that he might proceed in the exchange of prisoners without waiting for the settlement and the discharge of their accounts: but no cartel has been agreed upon. Commissioners were appointed on both sides, and held several meetings, without effecting the business. This led congress to resolve, on the 2ift of April-" That congress are sincerely desirous of settling a cartel for the exchange of prisoners, on principles of justice, humanity, and mutual advantage, and agreeable to the customary rules and practice of war among civilized nations, and that they lament the obitacles raised by gen. Howe and his commissioners during the negotiations held for this desirable purpose.” However, partial exchanges of individuals have taken place, and will be continued. When major Otho Williams was exchanged, he sent a letter to American head quar9

• ters,

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