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TO THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.
The Address and Petition of the Officers of the Army of the
That we, the Officers of the Army of the United States, in be. half of ourse ves and our brethren the Soldiers, beg leave, with all proper deference and respect, freely to state to Congrees, the stpreme power of the United States, the great distress under which we labour.
At this period of the war, it is with peculiar pain we find ourselves constrained to address your august body, on matters of a pecuniary nature. We have struggled with our difficulties year after year, under the hopes that each would be the last; but we have been disappointed. We find our embarrassments thicken so fast, and have become so complex, that many of us are unable to go further. In this exigence we apply to Congress for relief, as our head and sovereign.
To prove that our hardships are exceedingly disproportionate to those of any other citizens of America, let a recurrence be had to the paymaster's accounts, for four years past. If to this it should be objected, that the respective states have made settlements, and given securities for the pay due for part of that time, let the present value of those nominal obligations be ascertained by the monjed men, and they will be found to be worth little indeed ; and yet, trifling as they are, many have been under the sad necessity of parting with them, to prevent their families from actually starvi ing.
We complain that shadows have been offered to us, while the substance has been gleaned by others, Our situation compels us to
search for the cause of our extreme poverty. The citizens mur. inur it the greatness of their taxes, and are astonished that no part Ttaches the army. The numerous demands which are between the first co lectors and the soldiers, swallow up the whole. Our dis. tresses are now brought to a point. We have borne all that men can bear ; our property is expended ; our private resoui ces are at an end ; and our friends are wearied out and disgusted with our incessant applications. We therefore most seriously and earnestly beg, that a supply of money iray be forwarded to the army, as soon as possible. The uneasiness of the soldiers, for want of p y, is great and dangerous; any further experiment on their patience, snay have fatal effects. The promised subsistence or ration of provisions, consisted of certain articles specified in kind and quality, This ration, without regard, that we can conceive, to the healih of the troops, has been frequently altered, as necessity or conveniency suggested ; generally losing by the change some part of its substance. On an average, not more than seven or eight tenths have been issued; the retained parts were, for a short time, paid for ; but the business became troublesome to those who were to execute it. For this, or some other reason, all regard to the dues, as they respected the soldiers, has been discontinued, now and then a triling gratuity excepted. As these dues respected the officers, they were compensated during one year and part of another, by an extra ration. As to the retained rations, the account for several years remains unsettled ; there is a large balance due upon it, and a considerable sum for that of forage.
The clothing was another part of the soldier's hire. The are rearages on that score, for the year 1777, were paid off in continen: tal money, when the dollar was worth about four pence ; the arrearages for the following years, are unliquidated, and we apprehend, scarcely thought of, but by the army. Whenever there has beer. a real want of means, and defect in system, or neglect in exo ecution, in the departments of the army, we have invariably been the sufferers, by hunger and nakedness, and by languishing in an hospital. We beg leave to urge an immediate adjustment of all dues; that as great a part as possible be paid, and the remainder put on such a footing as will restore cheerfulness to the army, receive confidence in the just ness and generosity of its constituents, and contribute to the very desirable effect of re-establishing pablic credit. We are grieved to find, that our brethren, who retired from service on half pay, under the resolution of Congress, 1780, are not only destitute of any ineffectual provision, but are become the objects of obloquy. Their condition has a very discouraging aspect on us, who must sooner or later retire, and from every consideration of justice, gratitude and policy, demands attention and redress. We regard the act of Congress, respecting half pay as an honourable and just recompense for several years hard service, in which the health and fortunes of the officers have been worn down'and exhausted, We see with chagrin, the odious point of view, in which the citizens of too many of the states endeavour to
place the men entitled to it. We hope, for the honour of human nature, that there are none so hardened in the sin of ingratitude, as to deny the justice of the reward. We have reason to believe, that the objection generally is against the mode only. To prevent therefore any altercations and distinctions, which may tend to injure that harmony which we ardently desire may reign throughout the community, we are willing to commute the half pay pled. ged, for full pay, for a certain number of years, or for a sum in gross, as shail be agreed to hy the committee sent with this ad. dress. And in this we pray, that the disabled officers and soldiers, with the widows and orphans of those who have expended, or may expend, their lives in the service of their country, may be fully comprehended We also beg, that some more may be pointed out for the eventual payment of those soldiers, who are the subjects of the resolution of Congress of the 15th May, 1778. To the representation now made, the army have not a doubt that Congress will pay all that attention, which the serious nature of it requires. It would be criminal in the officers to conceal the gene al dissatisfaction which prevails, and is gaining ground in the army, from the pressure of evils and injuries, which, in the course of seven long years, have made their condition, in many instances, wretched. They therefore entreat that Congress, to convince the army and the world, that the independence of America shall not be placed on the ruin of any particular class of citizens, will point out a mode of immediate redress.
H. Knox, Major General,
on the part of the J. GREATON, Colonel,
Massachusetts line. John Crane, Colonel, H. MAXWELL, Lieut. Colonel, J. HUNTINGTON, Brigadier Gen. H. Swift, Colonel,
on the part of the SAMUEL B. WEBB, Colonel, Connecticut line, E. HUNTINGTON, Lieut. Col. P. CORTLANDI, Colonel, on the part of the N. York line,
on the part of the John N. CUMMINGS, Lieut. Col.
S Ner-Jersey line. WILLIAM SCOTT, Major,
on the part of the New Hampshire lines
on the part of the W. EUSTIS, Hospital Surgeons,
general hospital, Moses Hazen, Brigadier General. Cantonments, Hudson's Rive Dec. 1782.
Farewell Address of General Washington, to the Armies of
the United States.
Rocky Hill, near Princeton, November 2, 1783.
The United States in Congress assembled, -fter giving the most honourable testimony to the merits of the federal armies, and presenting them with the thanks of their country, for their long, eminent, and faithful service, having thought proper, by their procla: mation, bearing date the 18th of October last, to discharge such part of the troops as were engaged for the war, and to permit the officers on furlough to retire from service, from and after to-morrow; which proclamation having been communicated in the public papers, for the information and government of all concerned, it only remains for the Commander in Chief to address himself ance more, and that for the last time, to the armies of the United States, however widely dispersed individuals who compose them may be, and to hid them an affectionate, a long farewell.
But before the commander in chief takes his final leave of those he holds most dear, he wishes to indulge himself a few moments in calling to mind a slight view of the past, He will then take the liberty of exploring, with his military friends, their future prospects; of advising the general line of conduct, which, in his opi. nion, ought to be pursued ; and he will conclude the address, by expressing the obligations he feels himself under for the spirited and able assistance he has experienced from them, in the performance of an arduous office.
A contemplation of the complete attainment, at a period earlier than could have been expected, of the object for which we con tended, against so formidable a power, annot but ir.spire us with astonishment and gratitude The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be "forgotten. The signil inter positions of Providence, in our feeble condition, were such as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unpar lleled perseverance of the ar. mies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement, for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.
It is not the meaning, nor within the compass of this address, to detail the hardships peculiarly iucident to our service, or to des. cribe the distresses which, in seve: al instances, have resulted from the extremes of hunger and nakedness, combined with the rigours of an inclement season; nor is it necessary to dwell on the dark side of our past affairs.
Every American officer and soldier must now console himself for any unpleasant circumstance which may have occurred, by a recollection of the uncommon scenes in which he has been called to act no inglorious part, and the astonishing events of which he has been a witness ; events which have seldom, if ever before, ta. ken place on the stage of human action, nor can they probably ever happen again For who has before seen a disciplined army formed at once from such raw materials ? Who that was not a witness could imagine that the most violent local prejudices would cease so soon, and that men who came from the different parts of the continent, strongly disposed by the habits of education to des. pise and quarrel with each other, would instantly become but one. patriotic band of brothers ? Or who that was not on the spot, can trace the steps by which such a wonderful revolution has been effected, and such a glorious period put to all our warlike toils ?
It is universally acknowledged, that the enlarged prospects of happiness, opened by the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, almost exceed the power of description ; and shall not the brave men who have contributed so essentially to these inestimable acquisitions, retiring victorious from the field of war to the field of agriculture, participate in all the blessings which have been obtained ? In such a republic, who will exclude them from the rights of citizens and the fruits of their labours? In such a country, so happily circumstanced, the pursuits of commerce, and the cultivation of the soil, will unfold to industry the certain road to competence. To those hardy soldiers who are actuated by the spirit of adventure, the fisheries will afford ample and profitable employment; and the extensive and fertile regions sof the west, will yield a most happy assylum to those who, fond of domestic enjoyment, are seeking personal independence Nor is it possible to conceive that any one of the United States will prefer a national bankruptcy, and the dissolution of the union, to a compliance with the requisitions of Congress, and the payment of its just debts ; so that the officers and soldiers may expect considerable assistance, in recommencing their civil occupations, from the sums due to them from the public, which must and will most inevitably be paid.
In order to effect this desirable purpose, and remove the prejudices which may have taken possession of the minds of any of the good people of the states, it is earnestly recommended to all the troops, that, with strong attachment to the union, they should carry with them into civil society the most conciliating dispositions, and that they should prove themselves not less virtnous and useful as citizens, than they have been victorious s soldiers." What though there should be some envious individuals, who are unwilling to pay the debt the public has contracted, or to yield the tribute due to merit; yet, let such unworthy treatment produce no invective, or any instances of intemperate conduct, Let it be re. membered, that the unbiased voice of the free citizens of the United States, has promised the just reward, and giving the merited