Abbildungen der Seite

marched to Philadelphia. Being there joined by two hundred of their companions in arms who were quartered in the barracks, they surrounded, with fixed bay. onets, the State House, in which Congress and the Executive Council of Pennsylvania were sitting, and sent in a written message threatening the Council with the last outrage, if their demands were not, in twenty mi. nutes, granted. The members of Congress were not immediately menaced, but they were, for several hours, insolently blocked up in their hall.

As soon as General Washington received intelli gence of the mutiny, he detached General Howe with fifteen hundred men to suppress it; but before he reached Philadelphia, the disturbance was without bloodshed quieted. In a letter to Congress, General WASHINGTON thus expressed his indignation at this outrage of the military.

" While I suffer the most poignant distress in observ. ing that a handful of men, contemptible in numbers, and equally so in point of service, (if the veteran troops from the southward have not been seduced by their example) and who are not worthy to be called soldiers, should disgrace themselves and their country, as the Pennsylvania mutineers have done, by insulting the sovereign a'thority of the United States, and that of their own, I feel an inexpressible satisfaction, that even this behaviour cannot stain the name of the American soldiery. It cannot be imputable to, or reflect disho nour on the army at large, but on the contrary it will by the striking contrast i: exhibits, hold up to publick view the other troops in the most advantageous point of light. Upon taking all the circumstances into consideration, I cannot sufficiently express my surprise and indignation at the arrogance, the folly, and the wickedness of the mutineers ; nor can I sufficiently admire the fidelity, the bravery, and patriotism which must for ever signalize the unsullied character of the other corps of our army. For when we consider that

Vol. II.

these Pennsylvania levies, who have now mutinied, are recruits, and soldiers of a day, who have not borne the heat and burden of the war, and who can have, in reality, very few hardships to complain of; and when we at the same time recollect that those soldiers, who have lately been furloughed from this army, are the veterans who have patiently endured hunger, nakedness, and cold; who have suffered and bled without a murmur, and who with perfect good order, have retired to their homes, without a settlement of their accounts, or a farthing of money in their pockets ; we shall be as much astonished at the virtues of the latter, as we are struck with horrour and datestation at the proceedings of the former; and every candid mind, without indulging ill grounded prejudices, will undoubtedly make the proper discrimination."

On the 25th of November, the British troops evaca. ated New-York. General Washington, accompanied by Governour Clinton, by a number of other civil and military officers, and by many respectable citizens, make his publick entry on horseback into the city.

His military course being honourably and successfully terminated, the painful task remained to bid adieu to the companions of his toils and dangers. The closing interview took place on the 4th of December. At noon the principal officers of the army assembled at Francis's tavern, and their General soon entered the room. His einotions were too great for concealment Filling a glass of wine he turned to them and said, “ With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you; I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy, as your former ones have been. glorious and honourable.” He drank the wine, and proceeded. “I cannot come to each of you to take my leave, but shall be obliged to you, if each of you will come and take me by the hand.” General Knox being the nearest, turned to him. Incapable of utterance, General WASHINGTON grasped

his hand and embraced him. In the same affecting manner, he took leave of each succeeding officer. From every eye dropped the tear of sensibility, and not a single word interrupted the tenderness of the scene. He immediately left the room, and passed through a corps of light infantry, on his way to White Hall, where a barge waited to convey him to Powles' Hook. The whole company followed with feelings which words cannot express. Having entered the barge, he turned, and waving his hat, bade them a silent adieu.

Congress was then in session at Annapolis. To this honourable body, the General immediately repaired to resign his military command.*

* On his way 10 Annapolis, he stopped at Philadelphia 10 settle his accounts; of which transaction Dr. Gordon makes the following statement.

" While in the city, he delivered in his accounts to the Comptroller, down to December 13th, all in his own hand-writing, and every entry made in the most particular manner, stating the occasion of each charge, so as to give the least frouble in examining and comparing them with the vouchers, with which they were attended. The heads are as follows, copied from the folio manuscript paper book in the file of the treasury office, No. 3700, being a black box of tin, containing, under lock and key, both that

and the vouchers. Total of Expenditures from 1775 to 1783, ex

clusive of Provisions from Commissaries and Contractors, and of liquors, &c. from them

and others, .. ......... £3387 14 4 * Secret intelligence and service, . ..... 1932 10 0 Spent in reconnoitring and travelling, .... 1874 8 8 Miscellaneous charges, ......... 2952 10 1 Expended besides, dollars according to the scale

of depreciation, .. . .. .. . bilt 14 0

£16,311 17 1 ** Two hundred gnincas ndvanced to General M'Dougad are not inclucled in the £1982 10, not being yet settled, but included in some of the other charges, and so reckoned in the general suin."

He arrived on the 19th, and on the next day inform. ed Congress of his desire to resign into their hands the commission with which they had invested him as Com. mander in Chief of the American armies ; and he asked in what form he should present his resignation. Congress resolved that it should be at a publick audi ence on the succeeding Tuesday. When the moment of this interesting transaction arrived, the gallery was crowded with spectators; and many of the civil officers of the state and of the principal officers of the

Note. 104,364 of the dollars were received after March, 1780, and although credited forty for one, many did not fetch at the rate of a hundred for one, while 27,775 of them are returned without deducting any thir.g from the above account (and, therefore, actually made a present of to the publick.) (General WASHINGTON's account) from June,

1775, to the end of June, 1783, .... £16,311 17 1 Expenditure from Jury 1, 1783, to December

13, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1717 54 ( Added afterwards) from thence to December

28, ............... 213 84 Mrs. Washington's travelling expenses in com

ing to the General and returning, .... . 1064 10

£19,306 119 Lawful money of Virginia, the same as the

Massachusetts, or £14,479 18 94, sterling.

The General entered in his book_“I find, upon the final adjustment of these accounts, that I am a considerable loser

-my disbursements falling a good deal short of my receipts, and the money I had upon hand of my own: for besides the sums I carried with me to Cambridge, in 1775 I received inonies afterwards on private account in 1777, and since which (except small sums that I had occasion to apply to private uses) were all expended in the publick service; through hurry I suppose, and the perplexity of business (for I know not how else to account for the deficiency) I have omitted to charge the same, whilst every debit against me is here credit ed. July 1, 1783."

army, the French Consul General, and a large body of respectable citizens were admitted to the floor of the Hall. The members of Congress, representing the sovereignty of the nation, were seated and covered. At twelve o'clock, General Washington was intro. duced and conducted to a chair. After a short interval the Secretary commanded silence. The President then informed the general, “ that the United States in Congress assembled, were prepared to receive his communications." With dignity of manner suited to the occasion, he arose and addressed them : • Mr. PRESIDENT,

“ The great events, on which my resignation depended, having at length taken place, I have now the honour of offering my sincere congratulations to Congress, and of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.

“ Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable nation, I resign, with satisfaction, the appointment I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in iny abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.

“The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine expectations; and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received from my countrymen, increases with every review of the momentous contest.

" While I repeat my obligations to the army in ge neral, I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge, in this place, the peculiar services and distinguished merits of the gentlemen who have been attached to my person during the war. It was impos.

« ZurückWeiter »