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sions, has fed the hopes of the enemy, and kept the British arms in America to this day. They do not scruple to declare this themselves, and add that we shall be our own conquerors. Can not our common country, America, possess virtue enough to disappoint them? Is the paltry consideration of a little pelf to individuals to be placed in competition with the essential rights and liberties of the present generation, and of millions yet unborn ? Shall a few designing men, for their own aggrandizement, and to gratify their own avarice, overset the goodly fabric we have been rearing, at the expense of so much time, blood, and treasure ? And shall we at last become the victims of our own lust of gain ? Forbid it, Heaven! Forbid it, all and every State in the Union, by enacting and enforcing efficacious laws for checking the growth of these monstrous evils, and restoring matters, in some degree, to the state they were in at the commencement of the war.”
66 Our cause is noble. It is the cause of mankind, and the danger to it is to be apprehended from ourselves. Shall we slumber and sleep, then, while we should be punishing those miscreants who have brought these troubles upon us, and who are aiming to continue us in them ; while we should be striving to fill our battalions, and devising ways and means to raise the value of the currency, on the credit of which everything depends ?” Again we see the prevailing idea of the future, which haunted him continually. Evidently, he had some
imagination, and also a power of terse and eloquent expression which we have heard of before, and shall note again.
Still the appeals seemed to sound in deaf ears. He wrote to George Mason : “I have seen, without despondency, even for a moment, the hours which America has styled her gloomy ones; but I have beheld no day since the commencement of hostilities that I have thought her liberties in such imminent danger as at present. ... Indeed, we are verging so fast to destruction that I am filled with sensations to which I have been a stranger till within these three months." To Gouverneur Morris he said: “If the enemy have it in their power to press us hard this campaign, I know not what may be the consequence.” He had faced the enemy, the bleak winters, raw soldiers, and all the difficulties of impecunious government, with a cheerful courage that never failed. But the spectacle of widespread popular demoralization, of selfish scrambles for plunder, and of feeble administration at the centre of government weighed upon him heavily. It was not the general's business to build up Congress and grapple with finance, but Washington addressed himself to the new task with his usual persistent courage.
It was slow and painful work. He seemed to make no progress, and then it was that his spirits sank at the prospect of ruin and defeat, not coming on the field of battle, but from our own vices and our own lack of energy and wisdom. Yet his work told in the end, as it
always did. His vast and steadily growing influence made itself felt even through the dense troubles of the uneasy times. Congress turned with energy to Europe for fresh loans. Lafayette worked away to get an army sent over. The two Morrises, stimulated by Washington, flung themselves into the financial difficulties, and feeble but distinct efforts toward a more concentrated and better organized administration of public affairs were made both in the States and the confederation,
But, although Washington's spirits fell, and his anxieties became wellnigh intolerable in this period of reaction which followed the French alliance, he made no public show of it, but carried on his own work with the army and in the field as usual, contending with all the difficulties, new and old, as calmly and efficiently as ever. After Clinton slipped away from Monmouth and sought refuge in New York, Washington took post at convenient points and watched the movements of the enemy. In this way the summer passed. As always, Wash ington's first object was to guard the Hudson, and while he held this vital point firmly, he waited, ready to strike elsewhere if necessary. It looked for a time as if the British intended to descend on Boston, seize the town, and destroy the French fleet, which had gone there to refit. Such was the opinion of Gates, then commanding in that department, and as Washington inclined to the same belief, the fear of this event gave him many anxious moments. He even moved his troops so as to be in readiness
to march eastward at short notice; but he gradually became convinced that the enemy had no such plan. Much of his thought, now and always, was given to efforts to divine the intentions of the British generals. They had so few settled ideas, and were so tardy and lingering when they had plans, that it is small wonder that their opponents were sorely puzzled in trying to find out what their purposes were, when they really had none. The fact was that Washington saw their military opportunities with the eye of a great soldier, and so much better than they, that he suffered a good deal of needless anxiety in devising methods to meet attacks which they had not the wit to undertake. He had a profound contempt for their policy of holding towns, and believing that they must see the utter futility of it, after several years of trial, he constantly expected from them a well-planned and extensive campaign, which in reality they were incapable of devising.
The main army, therefore, remained quiet, and when the autumn had passed went into winterquarters in well-posted detachments about New York. In December Clinton made an ineffectual raid, and then all was peaceful again, and Washington was able to go to Philadelphia and struggle with Congress, leaving his army more comfortable and secure than they had been in any previous winter.
In January he informed Congress as to the next campaign. He showed them the impossibility of
andertaking anything on a large scale, and announced his intention of remaining on the defensive. It was a trying policy to a man of his temper, but he could do no better, and he knew, now as always, what others could not yet see, that by simply holding on and keeping his army in the field he was slowly but surely winning independ
He tried to get Congress to do something with the navy, and he planned an expedition, under the command of Sullivan, to overrun the Indian country and check the barbarous raids of the Tories and savages on the frontier; and with this he was fain to be content. In fact, he perceived very clearly the direction in which the war was tending. He kept up his struggle with Congress for a permanent army, and with the old persistency pleaded that something should be done for the officers, and at the same time he tried to keep the States in good humor when they were grumbling about the amount of protection afforded them.
But all this wear and tear of heart and brain and temper, while given chiefly to hold the army together, was not endured with any notion that he and Clinton were eventually to fight it out in the neighborhood of New York. Washington felt that that part of the conflict was over. He now hoped and believed that the moment would come, when, by uniting his army with the French, he should be able to strike the decisive blow. Until that time came, however, he knew that he could do nothing on a great scale, and he felt that meanwhile the