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to the Dutch Lutheran Church, and return thanks to Almighty God for the signal success of the American arms; and they issued a proclamation, recommending to the citizens of the United States to observe the thirteenth of December as a day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer. The news of the capture of Earl Cornwallis was every where received with exultation and publick rejoicing.
Congress for this achievement, voted the thanks of the United States to General WASHINGTON, to Count Rochambeau, to Count de Grasse, to the officers of the allied army generally, and to the corps of artillery and engineers in particular. They also resolved that a marble column should be erected at Yorktown in Virginia, bearing emblems of the alliance between the United States and his Most Christian Majesty, and inscribed with a succint narrative of the surrender of the British army under the command of Earl Cornwallis. Two stands of colours taken from the royal troops, were presented to General WashINGTON, two field pieces to Count Rochambeau ; and application was made to the French Court that Count de Grasse might be permitted to accept a testimonial of the approbation of Congress, similar to that which Rochambeau had received.
To the Commander in Chief the most affectionate and respectful addresses were presented by the governments of the states, by the authorities of cities, and by the corporations of literary institutions.
The decided superiority of the allies in naval and land forces, General WASHINGTON wished to direct to the conquest of the British posts at Carolina and Georgia. He addressed a letter to Count de Grasse on this subject, requesting his co-operation in measures directed to these objects. But the Count declined, declaring that the service of his King demanded his immediate return to the West Indies.
Orders were of course issued for the disposition of Vol. II.
the allied armies for the approaching winter. Major General St. Clair was detached with two brigades to South Carolina to reinforce General Green. The French forces remained in Virginia. The Eastern troops embarked early in November for the Head of Elk, under the command of General Lincoln, who was ordered to march them from the place of their landing into New Jersey and New-York, and to canton them for the winter in those states. Count de Grasse with his fleet sailed for the West Indies, and General WashINGTON proceeded to Philadelphia.
Preparations for another Campaign--Sir Guy Carleton arrives at
New-York and announces the vote of Parliament to acknowledge American Independence-Army anxious for their Pay-Anonymous Address exciting them to a Revolt-General Washington convenes and addresses the Officers-Their resolutions Preliminary Articles of Peace received-Cessation of Hostilities proclaimed-General Washington addresses a Circular Letter to the Executives of the Several States--Army disbanded - New Levies of Pennsylvania revolt-The Commander in Chief enters New-York-Takes leave of his Officers-Resigns his Commission to the President of Congress-Retiros to Mount Vernon.
1. The brilliant issue of the last campaign did not relax the vigilance of General WASHINGTON. He deemed it true policy to call forth all the resources of the country, that the United States might be prepared for the conflicts of another year, or, might take a commanding attitude in a negotiation for peace. From Mount Vernon, on his way to the seat of government, he wrote General Green," I shall attempt to stimulate Congress to the best improvement of our late success, by taking the most vigorous and effectual measures to be ready for an early and decisive campaign the next year. My greatest fear is that, viewing this stroke in a point of light which may too much magnify its im. portance, they may think our work too nearly closed, and fall into a state of languor and relaxation. To
prevent this errour, I shall employ every means in my power, and, if unhappily we sink into this fatal mistake, no part of the blame shall be mine."
He reached Philadelphia the 27th of November, and on the next day had an audience of Congress. The President informed him that a committee was appointed to arrange the military establishment of the next year, and that he was requested to remain in Philadelphia to assist in this important business. At the consultations of this committee, the Secretary of War, the Minister of Finance, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs assisted. The arrangements were made with despatch, and on the 10th of December, Congress passed the resolves for the requisitions of men and money for the year 1782 upon the several states; and the personal influence of the Commander in Chief was on this occasion used, to persuade the state govern. ments seasonably to comply with the resolutions of Congress.
1782. The first intelligence from the British government, after the surrender of Earl Cornwallis, indicated a design to continue the American war; but early in May, Sir Guy Carlton arrived at New-York, to supersede Sir Henry Clinton as Commander in Chief of the British army; and he and Admiral Digby were appointed Commissioners to treat with the United States upon terms of peace. He communicated to General WASHINGTON a vote of the British Parliament against the prosecution of the American war; and a bill authorising the King to conclude a peace or truce with the recolted provinces of North America. Sir Guy professed his pacifick disposition, and proposed that hostilities should cease, as these would produce individual distress without national advantage. This bill, when Sir Guy left England had not passed into a law, and therefore was not a proper basis of negotiation; and the Commander in Chief continued his defensive preparations,
In August Sir Guy officially informed General WASHINGTON, that negotiations for a general peace had commenced at Paris; and that his Britannick Majesty had directed his Minister to propose the Independence of the United States as a preliminary.
The deficiency of the states in paying their respective requisitions of money into the national treasury subjected the Minister of Finance to extreme difficul. ty; but by anticipating the publick revenue, and by exerting, to the utmost, his personal influence, he was enabled barely to support the army. Neither Officers nor men received any pay. In September Congress contemplated the reduction of their military establishment. By this measure many of the officers would be discharged. In a confidential letter to the Secretary of War, the Commander in Chief expressed a full persuasion, that the gentlemen would gladly retire to private life, could they be reinstated in a situation as favourable as that which they quitted for the service of their country; but added he,
“I cannot help fearing the result of the measure, when I see such a number of men goaded by a thousand stings of reflection on the past, and of anticipation on the future, about to be turned into the world, soured by penury, and what they call the ingratitude of the publick ; involved in debts without one farthing of money to carry them home, after having spent the flower of their days, and many of them, their patri. monies in establishing the freedom and independence of their country; and having suffered every thing which human nature is capable of enduring on this side of death. I repeat it, when I reflect on these irritable circumstances, unattended by one thing to sooth their feelings, or brighten the gloomy prospect, I cannot avoid apprehending that a train of evils will follow of a very serious and distressing nature.
“ I wish not to heighten the shades of the picture 80 far as the real life would justify me in doing, or I
would give anecdotes of patriotism and distress which have scarcely ever been paralleled, never surpassed in the history of mankind. But you may rely upon it, the patience and long-suffering of this army are almost exhausted, and there never was so great a spirit of discontent as at this instant. While in the field, I think it may be kept from breaking out into acts of outrage; but when we retire into winter quarters, (unless the storm be previously dissipated) I cannot be at ease respecting the consequences. It is high time for a peace.”
Although the military services of the field did not require the presence of the Commander in Chief, yet he was induced on account of the irritable state of the army to remain the whole season in camp.
The disquietude of the army arose more from an apprehension, that their country would ultimately fail in the compensation promised them, than from the deficiency of prompt payment.
In October 1780, Congress had passed a resolution, granting half pay to the officers for life ; but they had no funds to pledge for the fulfilment of these engagements. Publick opinion seemed to be opposed to the measure, and the pointed opposition by a number of the members of the National Legislature, rendered it doubtful whether a future Congress would feel themselves bound by that resolution. This doubt was strengthened by the consideration that, since the passage of the resolution, the articles of confederation had been adopted, and by these the concurrence of nine states, in Congress assembled, is necessary to the appropriation of publick money. Could absolute confidence be placed in the honour and faith of the National Council, still they must depend on state sovereignties for the ways and means to execute their promises. The country had been greatly deficient to the army, in the time of war, when their services were absolutely necessary. Would this country, amidst the security VOL. II.