Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

schemes, and acknowledge America as terrible in arms, as she had been humble in remonstrance. With this object in view, he has long shared in your toils and mingled in your dangers. He has felt the cold hand of poverty without a murmur, and has seen the insolence of wealth without a sigh; but, too much under the direction of his wishes, and sometimes weak enough to mistake desire for opinion, he has until lately, very lately, believed in the justice of his country. He hoped, that as the clouds of adversity scattered, and as the sunshine of peace and better fortune broke in upon us, the coldness and severity of government would relax, and that more than justice, that gratitude would blaze forth upon those hands which had upheld her in the darkest stages of her passage from impending servitude, to acknowledged independence. But faith has its limits as well as temper, and there are points beyond which neither can be stretched, without sinking into cowardice, or plunging into credulity. This, my friends, I conceive to be your situation. Hurried to the very verge of both, another step would ruin you forever. To be tame and unprovoked when injuries press hard upon you, is more than weakness; but to look up for kinder usage, without one manly effort of your own, would fix your character, and shew the world how richly you deserve those chains you broke. To guard against this evil, let us take a review of the ground upon which we now stand, and from thence carry our thoughts forward for a moment, into the unexplored field of expedient.

“ After a pursuit of seven long years, the object for which we set out is at length brought within our reach. Yes, my friends, that suffering courage of yours was active once; it has conducted the United States of America through a doubtful and a bloody war. It bas placed her in the chair of independency, and peace returns again to bless

whom? A country willing to redress your wrongs, cherish your worth, and reward your services ? A country courting your return to private life, with tears of gratitude and smiles of admiration, longing to divide with you

that independency which your gallantry has given, and those riches which your wounds have preserved ? Is this the case ? Or is it rather a country that tramples upon your rights, disdains your cries, and insults your distresses? Have you not more than once suggested your wishes, and made known your wants to Congress ? wants and wishes which gratitude and policy should have anticipated rather than evaded ; and have you not lately, in the meek language of entreating memorials, begged from their justice what you could no longer expect from their favour? How have you been answered ? Let the letter which you are called to consider to-morrow reply.

“ If this then be your treatment, while the swords you wear are necessary for the defence of America, what have you to expect from peace, when your voice shall sink, and your strength dissipate by division? When those very swords, the instruments and companions of your glory, shall be taken from your sides, and no remaining mark of military distinction left but your wants, infirmities, and scars ? Can you then consent to be the only sufferers by this revolution, and retiring from the field, grow old in poverty, wretchedness, and contempt? Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honour ? If you can go-and

carry
with

you the jest of tories and the scorn of whigs, the ridicule, and what is worse, the pity of the world. Go, starve, and be forgotten ! But if your spirit should revolt at this ; if you have sense enough to discover, and spirit enough to oppose tyranny, under whatever garb it may assume, whether it be the plain coat of republicanism, or the splendid robe of royalty; if you have not yet learned to discriminate between a people and a cause, between men and principles; awake, attend to your situation, and redress yourselves. If the present moment be lost, every future effort is in vain, and your threats then will be as empty as your entreaties now.

“I would advise you, therefore, to come to some final opinion upon what you can bear and what you will suffer. If your determination be in any proportion to your' wrongs, carry your appeal from the justice to the fears of government. Change the milk-and-water style of your last memorial; assume a bolder tone; decent, but lively, spirited, and determined, , and suspect the man who would advise to more moderation and longer forbearance. Let two or three men, who can feel as well as write, be appointed to draw up your last remonstrance; for I would no longer give it the sueing, soft, unsuccessful epithet of memorial. Let it be represented in language that will neither dishonour you by its rudeness, nor betray you by its fears, what has been promised by Congress, and what has has been performed-how long and how patiently you have suffered, how little you have asked, and how much of that little has been de.' nied. Tell them, that though you were the first, and would wish to be the last, to encounter danger, though despair itself can never drive you into dishonour, it may

from the field; that the wound often irritated, and never healed, may at length become incurable ; and that the slightest mark of indignity from Congress must now operate like the grave, and part you for ever, That in any political event, the army has its alternative. If peace, that nothing shall separate you. from your arms but death; if war, that courting the auspices, and inviting the direction of your illustrious leader, you will retire to some unsettled country, smile in your turn, and mock when their fear cometh on. But let it represent also, that should they comply with the request of your late memorial, it would make you more happy, and them more respectable. That while war should continue, you would follow their standard into the field, and when it came to an end, you would withdraw into the shade of private life, and give the world another subject of wonder and applause--an army victorious over its enemies, vic tórious over itself.”

drive you

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The reluctance which Congress manifested to compensate the army for seven years glorious service, excited a temper too favourable to the purposes of the writer of this intemperate address. Probably the influence of General Washington alone could have arrested the rising tempest, and his firmness and prudence were equal to the occasion. Silence in him would have encouraged the desperate to the prosecution of the most rash design; and strong and violent measures would have enkindled the smothered spark into a destructive flame. Noticing in general orders the anonymous publication, he expressed his confidence that the judgment and patriotism of the army would forbid their “attention to such an irregular invitation, but his own duty.” he added, as well as the reputation and the true interest of the army required his disapprobation of such disorderly proceedings.. At the same time, he requested the general and field officers, with one officer from each company, and a proper representation from the staff of the army, to assemble at twelve on Saturday the 15th, at the new building, to hear the report of the committee deputed by the army to Congress. · After mature deliberation, they will devise what further measures ought to be adopted as most rational, and best calculated to obtain the just and important object in view." The senior officer in rank was directed to preside, and to report the result of their deliberations to the Commander in Chief.

The next day a second anonymous address was published. The writer affected to consider the

« EdellinenJatka »