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kind, is among the arts which those who are endeavouring to effect a change, are practising to bring it to pass. I have said, and I still do say, , that there is not an officer in the service of the United States, that would return to the sweets of domestic life with more heartfelt joy than I should. But I would have this declaration accompanied by these sentiments, that while the public are satisfied with my endeavours, I mean not to shrink from the cause; but the moment her voice, not that of faction, calls upon me to resign, I shall do it with as much pleasure as ever the wearied traveller retired to rest."
His friend, Mr. Patrick Henry, then Governor of Virginia, informed him of the intrigues that were going on in his native state. To which he replied :
“ The anonymous letter with which you were pleased to favour me, was written by ******** so far as I can judge from the similitude of hands.
“My caution to avoid any thing that could injure the service, prevented me from communicating, except to a very few of my friends, the intrigues of a faction wbich I knew was formed against me, since it might serve to publish our internal dissensions ; but their own restless zeal to advance their views has too clearly betrayed them, and made concealment on my part fruitless. I cannot precisely mark the extent of their views, but it appeared in general that General Gates was to be exalted on the ruin of my reputation and influence. This I am authorized to say from un
deniable facts in my possession, from publications, the evident scope of which could not be mistaken, and from private detractions industriously circulated. **********, it is commonly supposed, bore the second part in the cabal; and General Conway, I know, was a very active and malignant partizan; but I have good reason to believe that their machinations have recoiled most sensibly upon themselves.”
General Gates learning that a passage in a letter from Brigadier Conway to him had been communicated to the Commander in Chief, wrote the following letter, as extraordinary for the manner of its conveyance, as for the matter it contains.
“ I shall not attempt to describe what, as a private gentleman, I cannot help feeling, on representing to my mind the disagreeable situation which confidential letters, when exposed to public inspection, may place an unsuspecting correspondent in ; but, as a public officer, I conjure your · Excellency to give me all the assistance you can,
in tracing out the author of the infidelity which put extracts from General Conway's letters to me into your hands. Those letters have been stealingly copied; but which of them, when, or by whom, is to me as yet an unfathomable secret.
«s. There is not one officer in my suite, or amongst those who have a free access to me, upon whom I could, with the least justification to myself, fix the suspicion; and yet my uneasiness may deprive me of the usefulness of the worthiest men. It is, I believe, in your Excellency's power to do me, and the United States, a very important
service, by detecting a wretch who may betray me, and capitally injure the very operations under your immediate direction; for this reason, sir, I beg your Excellency would favour me with the proofs you can procure to that effect. But the crime being eventually so important, that the least loss of time may be attended with the worst consequences; and it being unknown to me whether the letter came to you from a member of Congress, or from an officer, I shall have the honour of transmitting a copy of this to the President, that Congress may, in concert with lency, obtain, as soon as possibie, a discovery which so deeply affects the safety of the States. Crimes of that magnitude ought not to remain unpunished.” To which the General with dignity replied :
Your letter of the 18th ultimo, came to my hands a few days ago, and to my great surprise informed me, that a copy of it had been sent to Congress, for what reason I find myself unable to account; but as some end doubtless was intended to be answered by it, I am laid under the disagreeable necessity of returning my answer through the same channel, lest any member of that honourable body should harbour an unfavourable suspicion of my having practised some indirect means to come at the contents of the confidential letters between you and General Conway.
“I am to inform you, then, that ********* on his way to Congress, in the month of October last, fell in with Lord Sterling at Reading; and, not in confidence that I ever understood, informed
his aid-de-camp, Major M Williams, that General Conway had written thus to you, 'Heaven has been determined to save your country, or a weak general and bad counsellors would have ruined it.' Lord Sterling, from motives of friendship, transmitted the account with this remark. • The enclosed was communicated by
to Major M Williams; such wicked duplicity of conduct, I shall always think it my duty to detect.'
“ In consequence of this information, and without having any thing more in view, than merely to show that gentleman that I was not unapprised of his intriguing disposition, I wrote him a letter in these words.
Sir, a letter which I received last night contained the following paragraph:
“ In a letter from General Conway to General Gates, he says, 'Heaven has been determined to kave your country, or a weak general and bad counsellors would have ruined it; I am, sir, &c.'
“ Neither the letter, nor the information which occasioned it, was ever directly, or indirectly, communicated by me to a single officer in this army (out of my own family) excepting the Marquis de la Fayette, who having been spoken to on the subject by General Conway, applied for, and saw, under injunctions of secrecy, the letter which contained this information; so desirous was I of concealing every matter that could, in its congequences, give the smallest interruption to the tranquillity of this army, or afford a gleam of hope to the enemy by dissensions therein.
" Thus, sir, with an openness and candour, which I hope will ever characterize and mark my conduct, have I complied with your request.
“. The only concern I feel upon the occasion, finding how matters stand, is, that, in doing this, I have necessarily been obliged to name a gentleman, who, I am persuaded (although I never exchanged a word with him upon the subject), thought he was rather doing an act of justice, than committing an act of infidelity ; and sure I am, that until Lord Sterling's letter came to my hands, I never knew that General Conway (whom I viewed in the light of a stranger to you) was a correspondent of yours, much less did I suspect that I was the subject of your confidential letters. Pardon me then for adding, that, so far from conceiving that the safety of the States can be affected, or in the smallest degree injured, by a discovery of this kind, or that I should be called upon in such solemn terms to point out the author, that I considered the information as coming from yourself, and given with a friendly view to forewarn, and consequently forearm me, against a secret enemy, or in other words, a dangerous incendiary, in which character, sooner or later, this country will know General Conway; but in this, as well as other matters of late, I have found myself mistaken.”
In the active period of the last campaign, the Pennsylvanians had been deficient in the support given to General Washington, yet sore at the loss of their capital, and at the depredation of the enemy in their towns, they murmured that he had pot defended them against Sir William Howe, al