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We should all, Congress and army, be considered as one people, embarked in one cause, in one interest; acting on the same principle, and to the same end.
From long experience and the fullest conviction, I have been, and now am, decidedly in favor of a Permanent Force. But, knowing the jealousies which have been entertained on this head, (Heaven knows how unjustly, and the cause of which could never be apprehended, were a due regard had to our local and other circumstances, even if ambitious views could be supposed to exist,) and that our political helm was in another direction, I forbore to express my sentiments, for a time; but, at a moment when we are tottering on the brink of a precipice, silence would have been criminal.
A TEMPORARY ARMY, INEFFECTUAL.
Το suppose, that this great Revolution can be accomplished by a temporary army, that this army will be subsisted by State supplies, and that taxation alone is adequate to our wants, is, in my opinion, absurd, and as unreasonable as to expect an inversion in the order of nature to accommodate itself to our views.
THE MILITIA IN THE OLD FRENCH WAR.
The waste of provision they make, is unaccountable; no method or order in being served, or purchasing at the best rates, but quite the reverse.
Allowance for each man, as in the case of other soldiers, they look upon as the highest indignity, and would sooner starve, than carry a few days' provision on their backs, for conveniency. But upon their march, when breakfast is wanted, they knock down the first beef they meet with; and, after regaling themselves, march on till dinner, when they take the same method; and so for supper, to the great oppression of the people. Or if they chance to impress cattle for provision, the valuation is left to ignorant and interested neighbors, who have suffered by those practices, and, despairing of their pay, exact high prices, and thus the public is imposed upon at all events.
I might add, I believe, that, for want of proper laws to govern the Militia, (I cannot ascribe it to any other cause,) they are obstinate, self-willed, perverse, of little or no service to the people, and very burdensome to the country.
Every individual has his own crude notions of things, and must undertake to direct. If his advice is neglected, he thinks himself slighted, abused, and injured; and, to redress his wrongs, will depart for his home.
These are literally matters of fact, partly from per
sons of undoubted veracity, but chiefly from my own. observations.
THE MILITIA OF THE UNITED STATES.
This is certainly an object of primary importance, whether viewed in reference to the national security, to the satisfaction of the community, or to the preservation of order.
I have declared, and I now repeat it, that I never will receive the smallest benefit from the Half-pay Establishment. But, as a man who fights under the weight of a proscription, and as a citizen who wishes to see the liberty of his country established upon a permanent foundation, and whose property depends upon the success of our arms, I am deeply interested.
Upon the single ground of economy and public saving, I will maintain the utility of it; for I have not the least doubt, that, until officers consider their commissions in an honorable and interested point of view, and are afraid to endanger them by negligence and inattention, no order, regularity, or care, either of the men or public property, will prevail.
To prove this, I need only refer to the general courts-martial, which are constantly sitting for the
trial of them, and the number who have been cashiered, within the last three months, for misconduct of different kinds.
AMERICAN CONTRASTED WITH THE BRITISH
The difference between our service and that of the enemy, is very striking. With us, from the peculiar, unhappy situation of things, the Officer, a few instances excepted, must break in upon his private fortune, for present support, without a prospect of future relief. With them, even companies are esteemed so honorable and so valuable, that they have sold for, of late, from fifteen to twenty-two hundred pounds sterling. And I am credibly informed, that four thousand guineas have been given for a troop of dragoons.
PATRIOTISM, AND INTEREST.
Men may speculate as they will; they may talk of patriotism; they may draw a few examples, from ancient story, of great achievements performed by its influence; but whoever builds upon them, as a sufficient basis for conducting a long and bloody war, will find himself 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. It must be aided, by a prospect of interest, or some reward. For the time, it may, of itself, push men to action, to bear much, to encounter difficulties; but it will not endure, unassisted by interest.
There can be little doubt, that Congress will recommend a proper Peace Establishment for the United States, in which due attention will be paid to the importance of placing the Militia of the Union upon a regular and respectable footing.
If this should be the case, I would beg leave to urge the great advantage of it, in the strongest terms.
The Militia of this country must be considered as the Palladium of our security, and the first effectual resort in case of hostility. It is essential, therefore, that the same system should pervade the whole; that the formation and discipline of the Militia of the continent should be absolutely uniform; and that the same species of arms, accoutrements, and military apparatus, should be introduced in every part of the United States.