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stockings, shoes, and blankets, which he will contrive 1778* to get rid of in the most expeditious manner. In this way, by an eternal round of the most stupid management, the public treasure is expended to no kind of purpose, while the men have been left to perish by inches with cold and nakedness." '.
Upon a full conviction that the salvation of the cause depended on making provision for the half pay of the officers, the general communicated his thoughts to some of the congress in the following words—" With far the greatest part of mankind, interest is the governing principle. Almost every man is more or less under its influence. Motives of public virtue may, for a time, or in parti-* , . cular instances, actuate men to the observance of a conduct purely disinterested; but they are not of themselves sufficient to produce a persevering conformity, to the refined dictates and obligations of social duty. We find it exemplified in the American officers as well as in all other men. At the commencement of the dispute, in the first effusions of their zeal, and looking upon that service to be only temporary, they entered into it without paying any regard to pecuniary or selfish considerations: but finding its duration to be much longer than they at first suspected, and that instead of deriving any advantage from the hardships and dangers to which they were exposed, they on the contrary were losers by their patriotism, and fell far short os a competency to-supply their wants, they have gradually abated in their ardor; and with many an entire disinclination to the service under its present circumstances has taken place.—When ari officer's commission is valuable to him, and he fears tq lose it, you may then exact obedience from him. It is
1778. not indeed consistent with reason or justice, to expect that one set of men should make a sacrifice of property, domestic ease and happiness, and encounter the rigors of the field, the perils and vicissitudes of war, to'obtain those blessings which every citizen will enjoy in common with them, without some adequate compensation. It must also be a comfortless reflection to any man, that after he may have contributed to securing the rights of his country, by .the risk of his life and the ruin of his fortune, there will be no provision made for preventing himself and family from sinking into- indigence and wretchedness. Nothing would serve more fully to reanimate their languishing zeal, and interest them thoroughly in the service, than a half pay and pensionary establishment." The general supported his interposition April in behalf of the officers, by a second letter of April the "' aist—" Men may speculate as they will; they may talk of patriotism; they may draw a few examples from 1 ancient story of great achievements performed by its influence, but whoever builds upon it5 as a sufficient basis for conducting a long and bloody war, will find themselves deceived in the end. We must take the passions of men as nature has given them, and those principles as a guide which are generally the rule of action; I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest: but I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest or some reward. For a time it may of itself push men to action, to bear much, to encounter difficulties, but it will not endure unassisted by interest.—Without . arroarrogance, or the smallest deviation from truth, it may 1778* be said, that no history now extant, can furnish an instance of an army's suffering such uncommon hardships as ours has done, and bearing them with the fame patience and fortitude. To fee men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie on, without shoes, (so that their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet) and almost as often without provision as with, marching through frost and snow, and at Christmas taking up their winter quarters within a day's march of the enemy, without a house or hut to cover them, till they could be built, and submitting to it without a murmur, is a mark of patience and obedience, which, in my opinion, can scarce be paralleled." Within, a week after, congress resolved that there should be a provision of half pay for the life of the officers; but then they further resolved, " That nothing contained in the foregoing resolution shall be construed to extend to prevent the United States from redeeming, at any time, the half pay of such officers as they judge proper, by paying them a sum equal to six years half pay." But before these resolves were passed, between two and three hundred officers had resigned their commissions, reckoning from last August.
General Washington being desirous of effecting an exchange of prisoners, wrote to congress, on the 7 th of March—" It may be thought contrary to our interest to go into an exchange, as" the enemy would derive more immediate advantage from it than we should: but on principles of genuine extensive policy, independent of the consideration of compassion and justice, we are under an obligation not to elude it. An event of this kindt
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l719' is the general wish of the country. I know it to be the* wish of the army, and it must be the ardent wish of the unhappy sufferers themselves. Should the exchange be deferred, till the terms of the last resolve of congress on the subject are fulfilled, it will be difficult to prevent our being generally accused with a breach os good faith. Speculative minds may consider all our professions as mere professions, or at best* that interest and policy are to be the only arbiters of their validity. I cannot doubt that congress, in preservation of the public faith and my personal honor, will remove all impediments, that now oppose themselves to my engagements, and will authorize me, through commissioners, to settle as extensive and competent a cartel as may appear advantageous and necessary, any resolutions heretofore to the contrary notwithstanding." Congress in a few days removed the impediment, by resolving that he might proceed in the exchange of prisoners without waiting for the settlement and the discharge of their accounts: but no cartel has been agreed upon. Commissioners were appointed on both sides., and held several meetings, without effecting the business. This led congress to resolve, on the 21st of April—" That congress are sincerely desirous of settling a cartel for the exchange of prisoners, on principles of justice, humanity, and mutual advantage, and agreeable to the customary rules and practice of war among civilized nations, and that they lament the obstacles raised by gen. Howe and his commissioners during the negotiations held for this desirable purpose." However, partial exchanges of individuals have taken place, and will be continued. When major Otho Williams was exchanged, he sent a letter to American head quar"9 ... ters, tersj relating how the prisoners had been treated at New 1778. York, and then said—" Before I conclude, permit me to acknowledge to you and the world, that I am much, obliged to Daniel Chamier esq; auditor general, for lending me money; to doctor Richard Huddleston of the seventh British regiment, for several offices of kindness' to myself and other prisoners, and that I was treated in a very courteous genteel manner by major Ackland of the twentieth, for whom I was exchanged."
In January, congress concluded upon a winter's irruption into Canada, and appointed the marquis de la Fayette, gens. Conway and Stark to conduct it; . The , two former repaired to Albany, and were afterward joined by baron de Kalb. But in a while, the expedition was dropt, for want of men, money, clothing, sleighs, provisions and forage: and on the 22d of April, Conway requested leave to resign his commission, which wag granted. Baron de Steuben, who arrived the beginning of December, with sundry letters of recommendation to , congress, and was desired by them to repair to gen* Washington's quarters, soon succeeded him as inspector. general. The same day Conway's resignation was. ac? cepted, on the 28th of April, Washington wrote, tq ,congress-^" J can be no longer silent as to the merits of baron de Steuben. I consider him as an acquisition to the service, and recommend him to the .attention, of congress." May the 5th, it was resolved, "That cdnT gress approve gen. Washington's plan for. the institution of a well organized inspectorship: That baron Steuben be appointed to the office of inspector general, with the rank,and pay of major general; his pay to commence from the time he joined the army and entered into the
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