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[IMMEDIATELY on the circulation of the foregoing address, the
commander in chief issued an official order, convening the general and field officers at the new building, to hear the report of the commissioners from the army to Congress, and to devise what further measures ought to be adopted, as the most rational, and best calculated to attain the just and important object in view. In this meeting, which was fully attended by the general and field officers,by one officer from each company, and by a suitable representation of the staff—the commander in chief thus addressed the army :)
By an anonymous summons, an attempt has been made to convene you together. How inconsistent with the rules of propriety, and how subversive of all order and discipline,let the good sense of the army judge! .
In the moment of this summons, another anonymous production was put into circulation, addressed more to the feelings and passions than to the reason and judgment of the army. The author of the piece is intitled to much credit for the goodness of hispen; and I could wish he had as much credit for the rectitude of his heart; for, as men see through difficulties, and are induced by the reflecting faculties of the mind, to use dif
ferent means to attain the same end, the aus thor of the piece should have liad more charity than to mark for suspicion, the man who should recommend moderation and longer forbearance, or, in other words, who should not think as he thinks, and act as he advises. But he had another plan in view, in which candour and liberality of sentiment, regard to justice, and love of country, have no part ; and he was right to insinuate the darkest suspicions to effect the blackest designs. That the address is drawn with great art; that it is intended to answer the most insidious purposes ; that it is intended to impress the mind with an idea of premeditated injustice to the sovereign power of the United States, and rouse all those resentments which must unavoidably flow from such a belief ; that the first mover of this scheme, whoever he may be, intended to take advantage of the passions, while they were warmed with the recollection of past distresses, without giving time for cool deliberate thinking, and that composure of mind which is necessary to give dignity and stability to measures, is rendered too obvious, by the mode of conducting the business, to need other proof than a reference to the proceeding.
THUS much, gentlemen, I have thought it incumbent on me to observe to you, to shew upon what principles I opposed the hasty, irregular meeting which was proposed to be held on Tuesday last, and not because I wanted a disposition to give you every opportunity, consistent with your own honour, and the dignity of the army to make known your grievances. If my conduct heretofore, has not evinced to you, that I have been a faithful friend to the army, my declaration of it at this time would be equally unavailing and improper. But as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common country, as I have never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty ; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your distresses, and not amongst the last to feel and acknowledge your merits; as I have ever considered my own military reputation as inseparably connected with that of the army ; and my heart has ever expanded with joy, when I heard its praises, and my indig
nation has risen, when the mouth of detrac. tion has been opened against it, it can scarcely be supposed at this last stage of the war, that I am indifferent to its interests. But how are they to be promoted ? the way is plain, says the anonymous addresser. “ If war continues, remove into the unsettled country, there establish yourselves, and leave an ungrateful country to defend itself.” But whom are they to defend ? our wives, our children, and our farms, and other property which we have left behind us? or in this state of hostile separation, are we to take the two first (the latter cannot be removed) to perish in a wilderness with hunger, cold, and nakedness ? If peace takes place, “ never sheathe your swords,” says he, “ until you have obtained full and ample justice.” This dreadful alternative of either deserting our country in the extremest hour of her distress, or turning our arms against it, which is the apparent object, unless Congress can be compelled into instant compliance, has something so shocking in it, that humanity revolts at the idea. My God! what can this writer have in view, by recommending such measures ? can he be a friend to the ariny ? can hė be a friend to the country? rather is he not an insidious foe? some enissary, perhaps, from Newyork, plotting the ruin of both, by sowing the seeds of discord and separation between the civil and military powers of the continent ? and what a compliment does he pay to our understandings, when he recommends measures, in either alternative, impracticable in their nature ? but here, gentlemen, I will drop the curtain, because it would be as imprudent in me to assign my reasons for this opinion, as it would be insulting to your conception, to suppose you stood in need of them. A moment's reflection will convince every dispassionate mind of the physical impossibility of carrying either project into execution. There might, gentlemen, be an impropriety in my taking notice, in this address to you, of an anonymous production ;- but the manner in which this performance has been introduced to the army, the effect it was intended to have, together with some other circumstances, will amply justify my observations upon the tendency of that writing.