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HistRevolV2_601-650.indd 10 3/16/12 12:03 PM C H A P T E R X X I X Conduct of the American Army on the News of Peace • Mutiny and Insurrection • Congress surrounded by a Part of the American Army • Mutineers disperse • Congress removes to Princeton • Order of Cincinnati • Observations thereon CHAP. xx1x [268] Before we close the curtain on the scenes that have empurpled 1 7 a 3 the plains of America, with the blood of some of the best of her citizens, or before we congratulate the European world on the opportunity of closing the temple of Janus, for a season, it is proper to retrospect and mark some of the intermediate transactions of the American troops, from the capture of lord Cornwallis and his army to the proclamation for peace, and the disbanding the troops of the United States. We have seen through the narration of events during the war, the armies of the American states suffering hunger and cold, nakedness, fatigue, and danger, with unparalleled patience and valor. A due sense of the importance of the contest in which they were engaged, and the certain ruin and disgrace in which themselves and their children would be involved on the defeat of their object, was a strong stimulus [269] to patient suffering. An attachment to their commanding officers, a confidence in the faith of congress, and the sober principles of independence, equity, and equality, in which the most of them had been nurtured, all united to quiet any temporary murmurs that might arise from present feelings, and to command the fidelity of soldiers contending for personal freedom, and the liberties of their country. The deranged state of the American finances from a depreciating currency, the difficulty of obtaining loans of monies, and various other causes, had sufficiently impressed them with the danger that threatened the great object, the independence of the United States of America. These circumstances had led the army to submit to a delay 610 HistRevolV2_601-650.indd 11 3/16/12 12:03 PM VOLUME THREE 611 of payment of their equitable dues, notwithstanding their personal CHAP. XXIX sufferings, and to wait the effects of more efficient stipulations for 1 7 s 3 adequate rewards in some future day. But on the certain intelligence that peace was at hand, that it had been proposed to disband the army by furloughs, and that there was no appearance of a speedy liquidation of the public debts, many of both officers and soldiers grew loud in their complaints, and bold in their demands. They required an immediate payment ofall arrearages; and insisted on the security of the commutation engaged by congress some time before, on the recommendation of general [270] Washington : he had requested, that the officers of the army might be assured of receiving seven years' whole pay, instead of half pay for life, which had been stipulated before: this, after reducing the term to five years, congress had engaged. They also demanded a settlement for rations, clothing, and proper consideration for the delay of payment of just debts, which had long been due, and an obligation from congress for compensation, or immediate payment. They chose general M'Dougal, colonel Brooks, and colonel Ogden, a committee from the army to wait on congress, to represent the general uneasiness, and to lay the complaints of the army before them, and to enforce the requests of the officers, most of whom were supposed to have been concerned in the business. Anonymous addresses were scattered among the troops; poisonous suggestions whispered, and the most inflammatory resolutions drawn up, and disseminated through the army: these were written with ingenuity and spirit, but the authors were not discovered. Reports were every where circulated, that the military department would do itselfjustice; that the army would not disband until congress had acceded to all their demands; and that they would keep their arms in their hands, until they had compelled the delinquent states to [271] a settlement, and congress to a compliance with all the claims of the public creditors. These alarming appearances were conducted with much art and intrigue. It was said, and doubtless it was true, that some persons not belonging to the army, and who were very adroit in fiscal management, had their full share in ripening the rupture. Deeply involved in public contracts, some of the largest public creditors on the continent were particularly suspected of fomenting a spirit, and encouraging views, inconsistent with the principles...


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