and proofs: and exerted all the Talents and Eloquence I had, in justifying
him where he was justifiable, and excusing him where he was excusable. When
the Tryal was over Mr. Ellery of
Newport, came to me and said you have made the old Man your
Friend for Life. He will hear of your Defence of him,
and he never forgets a Kindness. More than twenty Years afterwards, the Old
Gentleman hobbled on his Crutches to the Inn in
Providence, at four score Years of Age, one half of him dead in
consequence of a paralytic Stroke, with his Eyes overflowing with tears to
express his Gratitude to me. He said He knew not for what End he was continued
in Life, unless it were to punish his Friends or to teach his Children and Grand Children to respect me.
The President of Rhode Island
Colledge who had married his Daughter, and
all his Family shewed me the same affectionate
Tuesday August 13,
The Board of War brought in a Report, which was taken
into Consideration; whereupon Resolved as in the Journal.
A Letter of the twelf from Brigadier
General Mercer was read. ordered Resolved that it be
referred to the Board of War.
Congress took into Consideration the Articles of War, and after some time
spent thereon, the farther Consideration thereof was postponed till
Wednesday. August 14.
A Letter of the 12th from General
withthe Papers inclosed
a return of the Army at
New York, and sundry other Papers inclosed
, being received was read. Also sundry Letters
England were read.
Resolved That the Letter from General Washington
with the Papers inclosed be referred to the Board of
The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken into Consideration,
whereupon Resolved, as in the Journal.
Thursday. August 15.
The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken
into Consideration: whereupon Resolved as in the Journal.
A Petition from Return Jonathan Meigs in behalf of himself
and others was presented to Congress and read.
Resolved that it be referred to the Board of War.
Congress resumed the Consideration of the Instructions given to
Commodore Hopkins &c.
Resolved That the said Commodore Hopkins, during his Cruise
to the southward, did not pay due regard to the Tenor of his Instructions,
whereby he was expressly directed to annoy the Ennemy's Ships upon the Coasts of the southern States; and
that his reasons for not going from Providence immediately to
the Carolinas, are by no means satisfactory. At the request of
the delegates of
Pennsylvania the farther Consideration of the report was
postponed till tomorrow.
Fryday August 16. 1776.
Resolved that a Member be added to the Committee to whom were referred the
Letters and Papers respecting the murder of Mr. Parsons. The Member chosen
Mr. J. Adams.
Resolved that the Letters received Yesterday from General Washington,General Schuyler and
General Gates be referred to the Board of
Congress resumed the consideration of the Instructions given to
Commodore Hopkins &c. and thereupon came to the following
Resolved that the said Conduct of Commodore Hopkins
deserves the Censure of this House and this House does accordingly censure
Ordered that a Copy of the Resolutions passed against Commodore Hopkins be
transmitted to him.
Although this Resolution of Censure was not, in my Opinion demanded by
justice and consequently was inconsistent with good Policy, as it tended to
discourage an Officer and diminish his Authority by tarnishing his reputation;
Yet as it went not so far as to cashier him, which had been the Object [illegible] intended by the Spirit that dictated the Prosecution, I
had the Satisfaction to think that I had not laboured wholly in vain, in his defence.
Saturday August 17.
Congress resumed the Consideration of the Report of the
Committee, to whom was referred Brigadier General Woosters
Letter requesting an Inquiry into his Conduct, while he had the honor of
commanding the Continental forces in
Canada, which was read as follows:
That Brigadier General Wooster produced Copies of a Number
of Letters, which passed between him and General Schuyler, and
of his Letters to Congress, from which it appears, that he from time to time,
gave seasonable and due notice of the State of the Army under his Command, and
Supplies were in his Opinion necessary to render the
successful; that a number of Officers
and other Gentlemen from
Canada, who were acquainted with his Conduct there, and who
happened to be occasionally in this City, were examined before the Committee;
to which Letters, and the minutes of the examination of the Witnesses herewith
exhibited, the Committee beg leave to refer Congress for
further Information, and report, as the Opinion of the Committee upon the whole
of the Evidence that was before them, that nothing censurable or blame worthy
appears against Brigadier General Wooster.
The Report being read again, was agreed to.
But not, however, without a great Struggle. -- In this Instance again as in
many others, when the same anti
New England Spirit which pursued Commodore
Hopkins, persecuted General Wooster, I had to contend
with the whole Host of their Ennemies, and with the
Utmost Anxiety and most arduous Efforts, was scarcely able to preserve them
from disgrace and Ruin, which Wooster had merited even less
than Hopkins. In Woosters case there was a
manifest Endeavour to lay upon him the blame of
their own misconduct in Congress in st embarrassing and starving the
Canada. Wooster was calumniated for Incapacity,
Want of Application and even for Cowardice, [without] a
Colour of Proof of either. The Charge of Cowardice he
soon confuting by a glorious and voluntary Sacrifice of his Life, which
compelled his Ennemies to confess he was a Hero.
The Board of War brought in a report which was taken into Consideration;
whereupon Resolved, as in all the rest of theJournal.
Monday August 19.
Letters from General
referred to the Board of War.
A Letter of the 14th. from Commodore Hopkins was read;
whereupon Resolved That Commodore Hopkins be directed to
Rhode Island, and take the Command of the Fleet formerly put
under his Care.
Congress resumed the consideration of the Report of the
CommitteeArticles of War as revised by the Committee for that Purpose
appointed, and after some time spent thereon, the farther Consideration thereof
This Report was made by me and Mr. Jefferson, in
Consequence of a Letter from General Washington, sent
by Colonel Tudor, Judge Advocate General, representing the
Insufficiency of the Articles of War and requesting a Revision of them.
Mr. John Adams and Mr.
Jefferson were appointed a Committee, to hear Tudor
and revise the Articles. . . . It was a very difficult and unpopular Subject:
and I observed to Jefferson, that Whatever Alteration
We should report with the least Ennergy in it, or the
least tendency to a necessary discipline of the Army, would be opposed with as
much Vehemence as if it were the most perfect: We might as well therefore
report a compleat System at once and let it meet
its fate. Some thing perhaps might be gained. There was extant one System of
Articles of War, which had carried two Empires to the head of Mankind, the
Roman And the British: for the British Articles of War were only a
litteral Translation of the Roman: it would be in
vain for Us to seek, in our own Inventions or the Records of Warlike nations
for a more compleat System of military discipline:
it was an Observation founded in undoubted facts that the Prosperity of Nations
had been in proportion to the discipline of their forces by Sea and Land: I was
therefore for reporting the British Articles of War, totidem Verbis.
Jefferson in those days never failed to agree with me,
in every Thing of a political nature, and he very cordially concurred in this.
The British Articles of War were Accordingly reported and defended in Congress,
by me Assisted by some others, and finally carried. They laid the foundation of
a discipline, which in time brought our Troops to a Capacity of
contending with British Veterans, and a rivalry with the best Troops of
Tuesday August 20 1776.
A Letter of the 18th. from General Washington
sundry Papers inclosed
, was laid before Congress and
Resolved that the same be referred to a Committee of five: the Members