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*77& to move for an inquiry into the causes of the ill success attending the campaign of 1776; and then to contrive that such resolves should be given into, as would either remove the general or produce his resignation. Mean while the names of Gates and Mifflin were held up, and played off to ripen the measure. But the anonymous attempt upon the governor of Virginia was reprobated by him; and the Massachusetts assembly was not in a temper to admit of the trial to infnare them. ! As to gens. Gates and Mifflin, they have cleared themselves from having any design of removing the commander in chief. The former has written to an intimate April correspondent—" York Town, 4th April, 1778. Dear *' Sir, Last night I received your affectionate letter os the 16th last, that of the 25th of February came to hand a few days before. Your remarks upon the works and defences of your capital city, are just; and I am convinced the town is lost in a very few hours after they are attacked. I have daily and weekly been telling your, and the other eastern delegates, that not only the metropolis, but the whole coasts of New England were, in my opinion, the grand object of the enemy's resentment, for the ensuing campaign: they were a parcel of blundering blockheads, not to make that their object the last year. I think they might then have united their whole force, and have made a much more honorable end of their summer's work, than it pleased heaven to give them.—I find by your letters, that Boston, as well as this part of the continent, is infected by incendiaries who endeavour, by every villainous art, to impress a belief-^That gen. Mifflin and myself, are in a league,, With other designing and ambitious spirits, to supersede
gen, gen. Washington. Nothing can be more wicked, no- I778* thing more false than this diabolical calumny. Gen. Mifflin, to whom I made known the industry of his enemies and mine, and the tricks of their emissaries, Writes to you by this conveyance. You know his honor, merit, and services to the public; you also know, that whenever I have been called forth, I have done my best for the establishment of independence and peace: is it generous therefore, that we two mould be selected for 3, sacrifice to a junto? For my part I solemnly declare, I never was engaged in any plan or plot for the removal of gen. Washington *, nor do I believe any such plot ever existed—so help me—. Your's most truly."
You may credit Gates's not believing such plot; but you must believe differently. The stile of gen. Misflin's letter was—" Dear Mr. Audi et alterant -partern. I declare to you, with the greatest sincerity and solemnity, that I never formed a plan or a party to injure gen. Washington's command.—1 never desired tq have any person whomsoever take the command of thev American army from him; nor have I said, or done any thing, of, pr respecting him, which the public service did not require; and which I would not have said, with great freedom, to you as his friend, and as a friend to American Independency. I never aspired, in thought, to the command of the army, and always would have deprecated the idea as improper and dangerous to myself and to America had that idea occurred, which it never did
* When gen. Gates's letters were examined by me at his feat inj Virginia, the latter end of 1781, there was not a single paragraph to be met with, that contained any intimation of his being concerned in such a plan.
*778, to me.—I hope to see you before long-r-I most ardently wish it—and I pledge myself to you and my country, that I can and will justify my character of a patriot is ell points to your satisfaction." This disagreeable relation will finish with a paragraph from gen. Washington's letter of March the 28th.—" My caution to avoid every I thing that could.injure the service, prevented me from ; communicating, but to a very few of my friends, the intrigues of a faction, which I know was formed against me, since it might serve to publish our internal dissensions; but their own restless zeal to advance their views has too clearly betrayed them, and made concealment on my part fruitless."
Let us pass on to another event, which has the appearance of being related to some plot. On Monday, January the 12th, the president laid before congress a packet containing blank papers, which he received the -day before from capt. John Folger, who was, sent by the commissioners at Paris with dispatches to congress. Mr. Folger was ordered to be confined in close prison; but in the beginning of May, the committee, who were appointed to examine into his conduct reported, "That they have made as full an examination into that business as the evidence they were able to obtain would permit, and on the whole have no proof of any guilt in Mr. Folger;" whereupon the captain has been permitted to go home, and has had all His expences paid him. The committee suspect there has been foul play somewhere. They have taken off the seal from the packet, and sent it back to Paris, to be examined by the. original impression, that they may see if the fraud can be detected by that mean. What makes' the affair more mysterious is, that the other dispatches brought by the captain, con- 1778. tained state papers directed for the late president Mr. Hancock, and had no appearance of having been searched. Time must produce an explanation of this dark business; which has been rendered the more suspicious by the arrival of Mr. Francey with a letter from Mr. Deane only, dated Paris, September the 10th, 1777, recommending him as Mr. Beaumarchais' agent, and pressing the execution of the business which he came upon. The committee for foreign affairs, in their first letter to the commissioners after his arrival, said, "We think it strange that the commissioners did not jointly write by Mr. Francey, considering the very important designs of his coming over, viz. to settle the mode of payment for the past cargoes, sent by Roderique Hortales and Co. [alias Mr. Beaumarchais] and to make contracts for future. It is certain, that much eclaircissement is, at this late moment, wanting." Mr. Francey from time to time sent to the committee of commerce, letters upon the business with which he was intrusted, which were reported to congress for their consideration. After being before them once and again, Mr. Francev, as agent for Roderique Hortales and company, fettled -his contract With them, on the 8th of April. By that' contract it was stipulated among other articles, that the costs of the several cargoes already shipped by the saidcompany, were to be fairly stated at the current prices and usual mercantile charges in France, of the dates atwhich they were shipped.
1778. The condition of the army at Valley-forge, was far Jan' from being the most eligible or respectable; and in case the enemy had come out of Philadelphia, and made a general push, would have been exceeding hazardous: Gen. Washington was compelled by necesiity to employ the troops in making seizures; which excited the greatest uneasiness imaginable among their best and warmest friends, beside spreading disaffection among the people. He ever regrets being forced upon such a measure, and considers it among his worst misfortunes; as it not only occasions a dreadful alarm, but never fails, even in ve->teran armies, under the most rigid and exact discipline} to raise in the soldiery a disposition to licentigusnessi plunder, and robbery. The relief obtained was of no long continuance* Feb. He thus described the distresses of the army on the 16th of February—" For some days past there has been little less than a famine in camp. Naked and starving as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have noti ere this, been excited by their sufferings to a general mutiny and dispersion. This is the second time in the present yeari that we have been upon the verge ofi dissolution for want of provision." As to clothing, "he was continually tantalized With accounts from all quarters, of the prodigious quantity that was purchased and forwarded for the use of the army, while none reached them, or so badly sorted as to be totally useless: The poor soldier had a pair of stockings given him without shoes, or a waistcoat without a coat or blanket to his back; and thus he derived little benefit from what he received. Perhaps by Midsummer he may receive thick