« AnteriorContinuar »
the steps by which such a wonderful revolution has been effected, and such a glorious period put to all our warlike toils ?
IT is universally acknowledged, that the enlarged prospects of happiness, opened by the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, almost exceed the power of description : and shall not the brave men who have contributed so essentially to these inestimable acquisitions, retiring victorious from the field of war to the field of agriculture, participate in all the blessings which have been obtained ? In such a republic, who will exclude them from the rights of citizens, and the fruits of their labours ? in such a country, so happily circumstanced, the pursuits of commerce, and the cultivation of the soil, will unfold to industry the certain road to competence. To those hardy soldiers who are actuated by the spirit of adventure, the fisheries will afford ample and profitable employ. ment ; and the extensive and fertile regions of the west will yield a most happy asylum to those who, fond of domestic enjoyment, are seeking personal independence. Nor is it possible to conceive that any one of the U. nited States will prefer a national bankruptcy, and the dissolution of the union, to a compliance with the requisitions of Congress, and the payment of its just debts; so that the officers and soldiers may expect considerable assistance, in recommencing their civil occupations, from the sums due to them from the public, which must and will most inevitably be paid.
In order to effect this desirable purpose, and to remove the prejudices which may have taken possession of the minds of any of the good people of the states, it is earnestly recommended to all the troops, that, with strong attachments to the union, they should carry with them into civil society the most conciliating dispositions ; and that they should prove themselves not less virtuous and useful as citizens, than they have been persevering and victorious as soldiers. What though there should be some envious individuals, who are unwilling to pay the debt the public has contracted, or to yield the tribute due to merit; yet. let such unworthy treatment produce no invective, or any instance of intemperate conduct ; let it be remembered, that the unbiassed voice of the free citizens of the United States has promised the just reward, and given the merited applause ; let it be known and remembered, that the reputation of the federal armies is established beyond the reach of malevolence ; and let a consciousness of their achievements, and fame, still excite the men who composed them to honourable actions, under the persuasion, that the private virtues of economy, prudence, and industry, will not be less amiable in civil life, than the more splendid qualities of valour, perseverance, and enterprize were in the field. Eve. ry one may rest assured that much of the fu. ture happiness of the officers and men, will depend upon the wise and manly conduct which shall be adopted by them, when they are mingled with the great body of the community. And although the general has so frequently given it as his opinion, in the most public and explicit manner, that unless the principles of the federal government were properly supported, and the powers of the union increased, the honour, dignity, and justice of the nation, would be lost forever ; yet he cannot help repeating on this occasion so interesting a sentiment, and leaving it as his last injunction to every officer and every
soldier who may view the subject in the same serious point of light, to add his best endeavours to those of his worthy fellowcitizens, towards effecting these great and valuable purposes, on which our very existence as a nation so materially depends.
The commander in chief conceives little is now wanting to enable the soldier to change the military character into that of a citizen, but that steady and decent tenor of behaviour, which has generally distinguished not only the army under his immediate command, but the different detachments and separate armies, through the course of the war. From their good sense and prudence he anticipated the happiest consequences : and while he congratulates them on the glorious occasion which renders their services in the field no longer necessary, he wishes to express the strong obligations he feels himself under for the assistance he has received from every class, and in every instance. He presents his thanks, in the most serious and affectionate manner, to the general officers, as well for their counsel on many interesting occasions, as for their ardour in promoting the success of the plans he had
adopted ; to the commandants of regiments and corps, and to the officers for their zeal and attention in carrying his orders promptly into execution ; to the staff, for their alacrity and exactness in performing the duties of their several departments; and to the noncommissioned officers and private soldiers, for their extraordinary patience in suffering, as well as their invincible fortitude in action. To all the branches of the army the general takes this last and solemn opportunity of professing his inviolable attachment and friendship: he wishes more than bare professions were in his power, that he was really able to be useful to them all in future life. He flatters himself, however, they will do him the justice to believe, that whatever could with propriety be attempted by him, has been done. And being now to conclude these his last public orders, to take his ulti. mate leave, in a short time, of the military character, and to bid a final adieu to the armies he has so long had the honour to command, he can only again offer, in their be. half, his recommendations to their grateful country, and his prayers to the God of armies. May ample justice be done them here, and may the choicest of heaven's favours,