« PředchozíPokračovat »
In a confidential letter to Mr. Gerry, dated at Camp Valley Forge, February 16th, 1778, his colleague Mr. Dana, who is equally implicated as one of the Massachusetts delegation inimical to General Washington, gives not the slightest colour to the suggestion that they had joined in conspiracy to remove him. He does however display the condition of the army with an energy as creditable to his own feelings as it is to the patriotism of that gallant band, and has drawn with a rapid pencil the picture of sufferings, which made every day severer to them than a battle,
MR. DANA TO MR. GERRY.
MOORE Hall, Camp VALLEY Forge, Feb. 16, 1778.
My Worthy FRIEND, Your favour of the 8th instant I had the pleasure of receiving on the 13th, and am much obliged to you for the variety of matter it contains. Before I pay a particular attention to it, I will give some account of the state of our army, which demands a most serious consideration. A great proportion of the soldiers are in a very suffering condition for want of necessary clothing, and totally unfit for duty: but even this evil would have been patiently endured had not another, irresistible in its nature, taken place, the want of
visions. Congress will wonder, when we acquaint them, that the army, or any part of it, have wanted bread, since but a short time before we assured them that there was no probability of a deficiency in that article, and that there was a sufficiency already purchased and engaged. We founded this opinion upon the information of colonel Blane. Several brigades complained they had been destitute of flour two, three and four days. We reexamined colonel Blane, who assured us that if such a want took place, it must be owing to neglect in the issuing commissaries or quarter-masters, as flour was deposited in the magazines. An enquiry was instituted at head quarters, the result of which was a general blame; but such is the dependence of the army, even upon some scoundrels, that they dare not proceed to punish the most negligent at present, lest the sufferings of the army, instead of being relieved, should be increased. I yesterday mounted my horse and rode into camp and passed through several brigades, some of which were said to have been destitute of flour several days, enquiring separately of all the officers I knew, of different ranks, and am satisfied that by comparing their accounts I learnt the real state of these brigades : indeed the accounts were not very different. For flour they had not suffered ; but upon an average every regiment had been destitute of fish or flesh four days. On Saturday evening they received, some three-fourths and others one half pound of salted pork a man,-not one day's allowance: nor have they assurance of regular supplies in future. We do not see from whence the supplies of meat are to come.
The want of it will infallibly bring on a mutiny in the army. Sunday morning colonel Brewer's regiment rose in a body and proceeded to general Patterson's quarters, in whose brigade they are, laid before him their complaints, and threatened to quit the army. By a prudent conduct he quieted them, but was under a necessity of permitting them to go out of camp to purchase meat as far as their money would answer, and to give their certificates for the other, and he would pay for it. The same spirit was rising in other regiments, but has been happily suppressed for the present by the prudence of some of their officers. But no prudence or management, without meat, can satisfy the hungry man. In plain terms, 'tis probable this army will disperse if the commissary department is so damnably managed. Good God! how absurd to attempt an expedition into Canada, when you cannot feed this reduced army! All the meat you have in magazines or can purchase in any part and transport here, will not be more than sufficient to satisfy the daily wants of this army for months to come. This consideration induces me to set my face against that expedition, which I think I foresee will be extending from time to time, till it becomes a great object. I lament it was not confined to its original limits. Is it yet too late to reduce it? The passes on the North river must be secured, or without question this and the neighbouring states of Jersey, Delaware and Maryland must be evacuated by our army. They cannot be fed with meat but from beyond that river. But more on this subject when I have the pleasure of meeting you.
Articles of Confederation........ Re-elected a member of Congress........
Duties of the Committee of the Treasury........ Other Committees of Congress........Letlers of General Warren.......Mr. Otis.........Mr. Phillips....... General Lincoln........Letters of the Tories.
The year 1777 was distinguished in congress by the adoption of articles of confederation and perpetual union between the thirteen states.
From the first assembling of a congress the importance and necessity not only of a strict union and confederacy between the states, but certain fixed and permanent rules for government and intercourse had been apparent, and Dr. Franklin in July 1775, reported a sketch of articles of confederation which were discussed, and formed the leading features of those afterwards adopted. In June 1776, a committee of one member from each state was appointed to digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between the colonies. In August following a new draught was submitted to the consideration of congress, and on the 15th November after various amendments the confederation was adopted by congress and referred for ratification to the legislatures of the states. During the discussion of these articles which