Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

1

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

in the most critical moments of a campaign. No
greater expence would have been incurred, nor
would the constraint on individuals have been
greater, while the public service would have been
infinitely promoted by it, if timely and correspon-
dent measures had been taken by all the states to
raise their respective quotas by a specified time' in
the depth of winter. This arrangement would at
the same time have afforded to the recruits the ad-
vantage of being trained a few months before they
were brought into actual service, and have given
to the general a certain uninterrupted force for
each campaign. This course of proceeding had
been continually recommended, and the recom-
mendation had been as continually neglected.

“ In the more early stages of the contest,” said
the commander in chief to Congress, in a letter
of the 18th of November, “when men might have
been enlisted for the war, no man, as my whole
conduct and the uniform tenor of my letters will
evince, was ever more opposed to short enlistments
than I was; and while there remained a prospect
of obtaining recruits upon a permanent footing
in the first instance, as far as duty and a regard to
my station would permit, I urged my sentiments
in favour of it. But the prospect of keeping up
an army by voluntary enlistments being changed,
or at least standing on too precarious and uncer-
tain a footing to depend on, for the exigency of

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

our

[ocr errors]

our affairs, I took the liberty in February 1778, in a particular manner, to lay before the committee of arrangement, then with the army at Valley Forge, a plan for an annual draught, as the surest and most certain, if not the only means left us, of maintaining the army on a proper

army on a proper and respectable ground. And, more and more confirmed in the propriety of this opinion by the intervention of a variety of circumstances unnecessary to detail, I again took the freedom of urging the plan to the committee of conference in January last ; and, having reviewed it in every point of light, and found it right, or at least the best that has occurred to me, I hope I shall be excused by Congress in offering it to them, and in time for carrying it into execution for the next year, if they should conceive it necessary for the states to complete their quotas of troops.

“ The plan I would propose is, that each state be informed by Congress annually of the real deficiency of its troops, and called upon to make it up, or such less specific number as Congress may think proper, by a draught; that the men draughted join the army by the first of January, and serve till the first of January in the succeeding year. That, from the time the draughts join the army, the officers of the states from which they come be authorized and directed to use their endeavours to enlist thein for the war, under the bounties

granted

1.

granted to the officers themselves, and to the recruits by the act of the 23d of January last, viz. ten dollars to the officer for each recruit, and two hundred to the recruits themselves. That all state, county, and town bounties to draughts, if practicable, be entirely abolished, on account of the uneasiness and disorders they create among the soldiery, the desertions they produce, and for other reasons which will readily occur. That, on or before the first of October annually, an abstract or return, similar to the present one, be transmitted to Congress, to enable them to make their requisitions to each state with certainty and precision. This I would propose as a general plan to be pursued; and Iam persuaded that this, or one near. ly similar to it, will be found the best now in our power, as it will be attended with the least expence to the public, will place the service on the footing of order and certainty, and will be the only one that can advance the general interest to any great extent."

These remonstrances on the part of the commander in chief were not attended with more success than those which had before been made. Al. though the best dispositions existed, the proceedings of Congress were unavoidably slow, and the difficulty of bringing about a harmony and concert of measures among thirteen sovereign states was too great to be surmounted. The resolutions

respecting

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

VGL. IV.

N

1

our affairs, I took the liberty in February 1778, in a particular manner, to lay before the committee of arrangement, then with the army at Valley Forge, a plan for an annual draught, as the surest and most certain, if not the only means left us, of maintaining the army on a proper and respectable ground. And, more and more confirmed in the propriety of this opinion by the intervention of a variety of circumstances unnecessary to detail, I again took the freedom of urging the plan to the committee of conference in January last ; and, having reviewed it in every point of light, and found it right, or at least the best that has occurred to me, I hope I shall be excused by Congress in offering it to them, and in time for carrying it into execution for the next year, if they should conceive it necessary for the states to complete their quotas of troops.

“ The plan I would propose is, that each state be informed by Congress annually of the real deficiency of its troops, and called upon to make it or such less specific number as Congress may think proper, by a draught; that the men draughted join the army by the first of January, and serve till the first of January in the succeeding year. That, from the time the draughts join the army, the officers of the states from which they come be authorized and directed to use their endeavours to enlist them for the war, under the bounties

granted

up,

granted to the officers themselves, and to the recruits by the act of the 23d of January last, viz. ten dollars to the officer for each recruit, and two hundred to the recruits themselves. That all state, county, and town bounties to draughts, if practicable, be entirely abolished, on account of the uneasiness and disorders they create among the soldiery, the desertions they produce, and for other reasons which will readily occur. That, on or before the first of October annually, an abstract or return, similar to the present one, be transmitted to Congress, to enable them to make their requisitions to each state with certainty and precision. This I would propose as a general plan to be pursued; and Iam persuaded that this, or one nearly similar to it, will be found the best now in our power, as it will be attended with the least expence to the public, will place the service on the footing of order and certainty, and will be the only one that can advance the general interest to any great extent.”

These remonstrances on the part of the commander in chief were not attended with more suc. cess than those which had before been made. Although the best dispositions existed, the proceedings of Congress were unavoidably slow, and the difficulty of bringing about a harmony and concert of measures among thirteen sovereign states was too great to be surmounted. The resolutions

respecting

VGL. IV.

N

« ZurückWeiter »