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ynagnanimity in the most trying scene? of distress—and l7H% for a series of heroic and illustrious achievements, exalting them to a high rank among the most zealous and successful defenders of the rights and liberties of mankind. After giving them the thanks of their country, for their long, eminent and faithful services, congress declared it to be their pleasure, that such part of the fcederal armies as stood engaged to serve during the war, should from and after the third day of November next, be absolutely discharged from the said service. On the 5:9th, the commander in chief was directed by them to discharge all the troops in the service of the United States, who were in Pennsylvania or to the southward thereof, except the garrison of Fort-Pitt.
On the 31st of October, the honorable Peter John 31. Van Berckel, minister plenipotentiary from their high mightinesses the States. General of the United Netherlands, was admitted by congress to an audience. The chevalier de la Luzerne, general Washington, the superintendent of finance, many other gentlemen of eminence, together with a number of ladies of the first character, assembled in the chapel of Princeton college to participate of the joys the audience mould afford; and for which their spirits were put into proper tone, by the arrival, a little before Mr. Van Berckel entered, of an authentic account that the definitive treaty between Great Britain and the United States was concluded. Mr. Van Berckel upon being introduced, addressed congress in a speech, which was so gracefully pronounced as to please those who could not understand it, because of its not being in English. He then delivered a letter from their high mightinesses. The president returned an answer
*7*3. to the minister; in the close of which it was observed, that the United States had received the most distinguished proofs of regard and friendship from his illustrious family. The assembly after that separated; and the day closed with convivial meetings. Nov. On the 2d of November, were issued from Rocky 2" Hill, general Washington's farewell orders to the armies of the United States. Having taken notice of congress's proclamation of October the 18th, he said—" It only remains for the commander in chief to address himself once more, and that for the last time, to the armies of the United States (however widely dispersed the individuals who composed them may be) and to bid 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 flight review 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 opinion, 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." His closing words vvere—" And being now to conclude these his last public orders, to take his ultimate leave, in a short time of the military character, and to bid a final adieu to the armies he has so long had the honor to command, he can only again offer in their behalf, his recommendations to their grateful country, and his prayers to the God of armies.-^-May ample justice be done them here, and may the choicest of heaven's favors, both here and
hereafter, hereafter, attend those, who, under the divine auspices, 178J* have secured innumerable blessings for others! With these wishes, and this benediction, the commander in chief is about to retire from service.—The curtain of separation will soon be drawn—and the military scene to him will be closed for ever!"
In August Sir Guy Carleton received his final orders . for the evacuation of New York. On the 17th he in- 17. formed the president of congress, that he should lose no time in fulfilling his majesty's commands. But he could assign no precise period. The violence of the Americans, which broke cut soon after the cessation of hostilities, increased the numbers of those that looked to him for escape from threatened destruction. The newspapers contained repeated menaces from committees' formed in various towns, cities and districts, and even at Philadelphia; which augmented the terrors of the loyalists, so that Sir Guy could not in honor leave any of those behind, who were desirous of quitting the country. He expressed his concern at congress's having suspended to that late hour the recommendations stipulated by the treaty. The committee of congress had reported, on the 30th of May, after a preamble, "therefore, resolved, that the several states are hereby required- to remove all obstructions which may interpose in the way of the entire and faithful execution of the fourth and sixth articles; and that it be at the fame time earnestly recommended to them, to take into serious consideration the fifth article, and to conform to the several matters therein contained, with that spirit of moderation and liberality, which ought ever to characterize the deliberations and measures of a free and enlightened
1783. lightened nation." Instead of adopting and publishing the resolution, a motion was made that the report be Committed, to which 22 members of congress present agreed: the New York delegate Mr. (formerly colonel) Hamilton, one of the committee, distinguished himself by his firmness and consistency in giving it his single , negative. The inveteracy discovered in the states against . the parties alluded to in the fifth article, undoubtedly influenced the minds of several to vote for the commitment, while the inclination of others prompted them to use that as an argument for their so voting. The aversion of the people to a compliance with such recommendations, had they been published, did not proceed altogether from the rancor of the heart; but interest: influenced. Debts, which had never been contracted, were claimed, and paid out of the confiscated estates: in some instances by those who were debtors to the parties suffering by the confiscations. Confiscated property to ( a considerable amount had been purchased by many at a trifling expence. Had the recommendations been passed and complied with, scenes of notorious injustice would have been laid open, the most beneficial bargains superseded, and the payment of a number of simple contract and bond debts speedily required. Nov. Tuesday, November the 25 th, was the day agreed *S* upon for the evacuation of New York. To prevent every disorder which might otherwise ensue from such an event, the American troops under the command of general Knox marched from Haerlem to the Bowery lane in the morning. They remained there till about one o'clock, when the British forces left the posts in the Bowery, and the Americans marched forward and took 3 possession
possession of the city. This being effected, Knox andl783a number of citizens on horseback rode to the Bowery to receive their excellencies general Washington and -governor Clinton, who, with their suits, made their public entry into the city on horseback l followed by the lieut. governor and the members of the council, for the temporary government of the southern district, four abreast—general Knox and the officers of the army, eight abreast—citizens on horseback, eight abreast— the speaker of the assembly and citizens on foot, eight abreast.' The procession ceased at Cape's tavern. The governor gave a public dinner at Frances's tavern; at which the commander in chief and other general officers were present.- The arrangements for the whole business were so well made and executed, that the most admirable tranquillity succeeded through the day and night. On rj)ec. Monday, the governor gave an elegant entertainment '• .to the French ambassador, the chevalier de la Luzerne. General Washington, the principal officers of the* New York state and of the army, and upward of a hundred .gentlemen, were present. Magnificent fire works, infinitely exceeding every thing of the kind before seen in the United States, were exhibited at the Bowling-green . in the Broad-way, in the evening of Tuesday, in celebration of the definitive treaty of peace. They commenced by a dove's descending with the olive branch, and setting fire to a marron battery.
On Thursday noon, the principal officers of the army 4. assembled at Frances's (alias Black Sam's) tavern, to take a final leave of their much-loved commander in chief. After awhile, gen. Washington came in, and calling for a glass of wine, thus addressed them—" With