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tas obligatory upon the body who adopted it, and derived heir authority from it, and became to them a written Con. itution, prescribing and limiting their functions.
Though not strictly in the order of time, it may be added ere, that these articles of confederation were ratified by I the States, except New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryind, before June, 1778. New Jersey ratified in November f that year, after a vain effort to procure some important iodifications; Delaware did not assent until the 22d of 'ebruary, 1779. Maryland, who had, with Delaware, in isted on an amendment, securing the Western lands for he benefit of all the States, adhered to her resolution much inger, and carried on an intermediate controversy with Virinia on the subject. She, however, never delayed in her xertions in support of the war, and finally acceded to the Confederation in March, 1781. She protested that her conent was given because “ the common enemy" was encourged by her refusal, and because her “friend and illusrious ally' (France) believed her accession would greatly enefit the common cause." She declared at the same time, hat " by ratifying the articles of Confederation, she did not elinquish, or intend to relinquish, her interest with the ther confederated States to the Western territory."
The necessity of adopting some system of action in Congress lad been forced upon them in the summer of 1777, by the onfusion which prevailed throughout the public service. The vant of system had not only endangered the organization of he army, upon which the defence of the country relied, but lad contributed essentially to impose upon Congress the adopion of that unwise financial policy, and those harsh expelients which affected the currency so fatally. The departnents of the Commissary General and the Quarter-Master General were not well organized, and what they could have ffected in the procuring of supplies was obstructed by the vernicious interference of Congress in the regulation of prices. The depreciation of the bills of credit, which had jeen profusely emitted during the first years of the war, was Warming, and the remedies proposed were false in principle ind most unjust in effect. The three millions that had been ssued in 1775 had been increased, by successive émissions, until the amount reached to near a hundred millions, for which the faith of the States was pledged; but no means were provided for its redemption, or to give a prospect of
eventual security to the holders. Without commerce, with state governments but imperfectly organized, and no common government for the whole, it would have been imprudent to : call for taxes, even had there been a superintending authority to prescribe and collect them; foreign trade was totally ex- : tinct, and Congress had no other resource but unlimited promises, contingent not only upon the successful issue of the war, but the subsequent formation of an efficient govern- i ment, and the untried ability of the country in times of: peace and independence. Depreciation of this paper was the unavoidable consequence. It was seriously felt in the i beginning of 1777. To counteract it, Congress, in January, provided a law, making the bills a tender in payment in all it public and private business, and declaring the refusal to receive it as such, to be the extinguishment of the debt. Whoever u refused to receive it at par, in exchange for any articles of u property whatever, was denounced as an enemy to his 1 country. These wild and dangerous measures only served as to accelerate the mischief by enhancing prices enormously, and Congress accordingly, proceeding in the same coer- cive measures, and attributing to hostile feelings, or the de- . sire to speculate on the public distress, what was the real effect of their own measures, and the impoverished state of the country, resorted to still stronger and indefensible expedients. They procured the establishment in the States of an laws regulating the price of labor, and of all exchangeable commodities. If any persons refused to sell, the purchasing i commissaries were authorized to seize upon all surplus beyond a given quantity, at the prices so fixed. This arbitrary sys- ja tem drove every thing out of the public market. Citizens i secreted their effects and intermitted their industry, and be the public embarrassments increased instead of diminishing. An exhausted country was goaded by such palpable wrong, and by the unerring instincts of self-preservation, to obstruct the furnishing of what was absolutely required by the public necessities. In November, 1778, about the time of the adoption of the articles of Confederation, an effort was ab made to alter the system of finance, by raising the necessary i sums from the States in the form of taxes. Five millions were apportioned among them, to be raised within the year; * the amount to be funded until the final settlement, at an interest of six per cent. But the expedient succeeded badly. Little attention was paid to the regulation, and the old sys
tem continued to produce public distress and embarrass-ment, and private suffering and injury, until the end of the
These depreciations of the currency aggravated the deficient arrangement and mal-administration of the army departments charged with supplying the soldiers with arms and provisions. The want of subordination and accountability was the chief evil, and produced perpetual confusion. The remonstrances of Washington were frequent and urgent, against the existing modes of transacting business, until Congress, towards the close of the year, deputed a committee to examine into the subject, at head-quarters. The result of the interview was the reorganization, early in the next year, of the departments of Commissary General and Quarter-Master General. General Greene was made QuarterMaster General, and Colonel Wadsworth Commissary Gen
eral. The deputies who had before been appointed by ConTigress, and made accountable only to them, were put under
the control of the heads of department. This reform was followed by rapid improvements in the management of those
branches of the public service; but unhappily the effect was e not felt until after the army had suffered the extreme privations of that terrible winter at Valley Forge.
At the same time the just complaints of the officers of the di army, which had been repeatedly pressed upon Congress,
received some attention. Oppressed with want, overwhelmed with debt, and unable from the degraded currency and their scanty pay, to preserve a decent exterior, or provide the common comforts of existence, they had, time after time,
called for a more liberal and permanent provision. Many of 6: them had resigned, and more threatened to do so, unless
their grievances were redressed. A tardy and ungracious grant of half-pay for life was voted to them, which, by subsequent resolutions, was restricted to seven years from the end of the war. It served for a while to lessen the complaints of the officers, though it was far from affording them substantial relief or permanent satisfaction. On the last day
of the year, Congress voted a gratuity of one month's extra s pay to the officers and soldiers in the army of Washington,
as a reward for the patience, fidelity, and zeal with which o they had borne up under the dangers and fatigues of the y campaign.
But a greater calamity than depreciated credit, discos
tented officers, a disordered and exhausted army, and an impoverished people, threatened the American cause, at the close of the year 1777. Machinations were on foot among powerful and popular leaders in Congress and in the army, for displacing Washington from the command and elevating General Gates to that station. The brilliant result of the Northern campaign, and the glorious victory of Saratoga, were contrasted with the reverses in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, since the commencement of the war, to the disparagement of the military reputation of Washington. Anonymous and vague charges were soon followed by loud murmurs and open accusations among the partizans of the discontented; letters were freely circulated impeaching the integrity and ability of Washington; and pieces published in the newspapers, expressing dissatisfaction at his mode of conducting the war, and calling for his removal and the substitution of Gates. Some of the State legislatures joined in the movement. That of Pennsylvania addressed a remonstrance to Congress against his conduct of the campaign, when he retired into winter-quarters. Generals Mifflin and Conway, and probably Gates himself, were parties to these intrigues. Before their aim was fully discovered, they had succeeded in establishing a board of war, of which Gates and Mifflin were members, which undertook to act in opposition to the commander-in-chief. Conway obtained the appointment of Inspector-general of the army; and the opponents of Washington for a while seemed to have assumed the lead in public affairs, and superseded him in the confidence of his country. Under their direction, and contrary to his remonstrances, they projected a new expedition into Canada, of which they assigned the lead to the Marquis La Fayette. On his arrival at Albany, where he was directed to take command, he found nothing prepared for the expedition. On his complaint to Congress, he was recalled and the scheme abandoned.
The develop ment of these plans showed how widely the conspirators had mistaken public sentiment, if they had hoped
to be sustained in their projected removal of Washington. The indignation became so great, even among the troops under the imme. diate command of Gates, that it was with difficulty appeased. The principal intriguers were forced to withdraw from public view, to save themselves from the resentment of the sok diers. Conway resigned his commission, and subsequently
fought a duel with General Cadwalader, in which he was wounded, as he believed, mortally; he wrote a penitential letter to Washington, expressing his grief for the injury he had attempted to do. “You are," said he, “in my eyes, the great and good man-may you long enjoy the love, veneration, and esteem of these States, whose liberties you have asserted by your virtues.” The resignation of Conway enabled Washington to fill that office with his friend, Baron Steuben, a Prussian officer of great capacity, who had served in the army of the Great Frederick.
During the progress of these intrigues, Washington was fully advised of all that was designed and attempted against him. His private letters and public communications, spoke the same magnanimous and moderate spirit, which confer more true lustre on his character than his splendid military genius. Even when Congress seemed almost ready to abandon him
to the fury of his detractors, he never for a moment forgot the calm dignity of conscious rectitude, never was betrayed into a word or an act of petulance or irritability, and never relaxed the devotion of his entire faculties to the service of his country. Although deeply wounded in his feelings, he stifled his resentments, and forbore to use the means of exculpation in his own hands, lest the disclosure might injure the common cause. As the crisis showed him maintaining his serenity in the midst
of trials, so his triumph in the discomfiture of his enemies was a signalized by delicate forbearance and generous forgiveness
of injuries. The vindication of his own character and the e recognition in so unequivocal a manner of his claims to the 1 admiration and affection of his country, touching as they = 4 must have been to his feelings, were secondary in his estiit mation to the great benefits of restored confidence and reunited counsels to the liberties of America.
Never were united counsels, mutual forbearance, and untiring energy more required than for the management of
American affairs during that winter. None of the reforms in by the army, dictated by necessity, began to relieve the embar
rassments of the Commander-in-chief, or diminish materially the sufferings of the army, until some months of their encampment at Valley Forge had passed. A faithful picture of all they endured there by hunger and
s clothing, of forage, food, and tents, would display a scene not more striking for its unparalleled hardships, than for the con