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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 warit has placed her in the chair of independence, 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 policy and justice should have anticipated rather than evaded)—And have you not lately, in the meek language of an entreating memorial, begged from justice what you could no longer expect from their favor? How have
How have you been answered? Let the letter which you are called to consider to-morrow, make the 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 disipate 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 resolution; 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 honor? 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 recoil at this, if you have sence enough to discover and spirit sufficient to oppose tryanny, under whatever garb it may assumewhether it be the plain coat of republicanism, or the splendid robes of royalty-If you have yet learned to discriminate between a people and a cause—between men and principles—Awake-at
tend to your situation and redress yourselves. If the present moment be lost, every future effort is in vain-Your threats then, will be as empty as your entreaties now. I would advise you, therefore, to come to some final opinion of 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 will 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 suing, soft, unsuccessful epithet of memorial.) Let it represent, in language that will neither dishonor you by its rudeness, nor betray you by its fears—what has been promised by Congress and what has been performed—How long and how patiently you have suffered—How little you have asked, and how much of that little, has been denied—Tell them that though you were the first and would wish to be the last to encounter danger-that though despair itself can never drive you into dishonor-it may drive you 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 now, must operate like the grave, and part you forever; 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 yet unsettled country; smile in your turn, and “work 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 the war should continue, you would follow their standard in the fieldand that when it came to 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-victorious over
I am, &c. A meeting of the Gen. and Field officers is requested, to attend at the public building-at 10 o'clock on Tuesday next. An officer from each company is also expected, and one or more rep
resentative from the medical and other staff. The object of this meeting is to consider the late report from our commissioners in Philadelphia, and what further measures should be taken to obtain that redress which they seem to have solicited in vain. SATURDAY, March 8.
GENTLEMEN:— Enclosed you have a copy of two important papers—the one an invitation to a general meeting of the armythe other a very serious address upon what will probably be the subject of our discussions; your countenance, support and attendance on to-morrow, are requested.
(superscribed to Colonels Crane, Webb & Huntington.)
TO THE OFFICERS OF THE ARMY.
MARCH, 1783. GENTLEMEN:—The author of a late address, anxious to deserve, though he should fail to engage your esteem and determined, at every risk, to unfold your duty and discharge his own -would beg leave to solicit the further indulgence of a few moments attention. Aware of the coyness, with which his last letter was received, he feels himself, neither disappointed nor displeased with the caution it has met. He well knew that it spoke a language, which till now, had been only heard in a whisper, and that it contained some sentiments which confidence itself would have breathed with distrust.
But their lives have been short and their observation imperfect indeed, who have yet to learn that alarms may be false, that the best designs, are sometimes obliged to assume the worst aspect, and that however synonymous, surprise and disaster may be in Military Phrase-in moral and political meaning they convey ideas as different as they are distinct. Suspicion, detestable as it is in private life, is the loveliest trait of political character. It prompts you to inquiry-It shuts the door against design and opens every avenue to truth. It was the first to oppose a Tyrant here, and still stands sentinel over the liberties of America; with this belief, it would illy become me to stifle the voice of this honest guardian
—a guardian, who (authorized by circumstances digested into proof) has herself given birth to the address you have read, and now goes forth among you, with a request to all, that it
may treated fairly—that it may be considered before it is abused, -and considered before it be tortured; convinced that in a search after error, truth will appear; that apathy itself will grow warm in the pursuit, and though it will be the last to adopt her advice, it will be the first to act upon it.
The General Orders of yesterday, which the weak may mistake for disapprobation, and the designing dare to represent as such—wears, in my opinion, a very different complexion, and carries with it a very opposite tendency. Till now—the Commanderin-Chief, has regarded the steps you have taken for redress, with good wishes, alone. This ostensible silence has authorized your meeting, and his private opinion has sanctified your claims. Had he disliked the object in view—would not the same sense of duty which forbad you from meeting on the third day of the weekhave forbidden you from meeting on the seventh? Is not the same subject held up for your discussion, and has it not passed the seal of office and taken all the solemnity of an order? This will give system to your proceedings, and stability to your resolves -it will ripen speculation into fact; and while it adds to the unanimity, it cannot possibly lessen the independency of your sentiments. It may be necessary to add upon this subject, that from the injunction with which the General Orders close,-every man is at liberty to conclude that the report to be made to Head Quarters, is intended for Congress, hence will arise another motive for that energy which has been recommenced.
For can you give the lie to the pathetic descriptions of your Representatives and the more alarming productions of our friends? To such as make a want of signature an objection to opinion, I reply that it matters very little who is the author of sentiments which grow out of your feelings and apply to your wants—that in this instance, diffidence suggested what experience enjoins, and that while I continue to move on the high road of argument and advice, which is open to all, I shall continue to be the sole confident of my own secret.
But should the time come, when it shall be necessary to depart from this general line, and hold up any individual among you as an object of resentment or contempt of the rest, I thus publicly pledge my honor as a soldier, and veracity as a man, that I will then assume a visible existence and give my name to the army, with as little reserve as I now give my opinion.
I am yours,
Maj. J. A. Wright to Maj. John Webb.
WEST Point, March 16th, 1783. DEAR MAJOR:— Enclosed I send you a copy of an anonymous paper which has been circulated in the army, with the Gen'l Orders in consequence of it.
Yesterday there was a meeting of the officers. The Commander-in-Chief came among us, and made a most excellent address; he appeared sensibly agitated; as the writer advises to
suspect the man who should advise to more moderation & longer forbearance,” this expression, together with a 2d anonymous letter, which I have not seen, gave reason to suppose that it was a plan laid against his Excellency, as every one who knows him must be sensible that he would recommend moderation. The General having finished his address, retired. Gen'l Gates took the chair; the Business of the day was conducted with Order, Moderation and Decency. I will send you a copy of the proceedings if I can possibly obtain it, the first opportunity.
In one of your letters you tax me with negligence in writing. I believe you begin to think I am reforming; but if any thing I can write, whether it be my own production, or that of others, should merit so much of your attention as will produce a line from you when leisure & opportunity permits, I shall think myself amply rewarded.
I am, Dear Colonel,
J. A. WRIGHT.
The Mr. Wells, who now occupies the “ Webb House,” in Wethersfield, known during the Revolution as “Hospitality Hall,” and so designated by William Livingston and others in their correspondence, is the lineal descendant of the Mr. Wells who was one of the party who settled Hartford in 1635; and so was the late