to suffer my Character to lie under infamous Calumnies, because the Author
of them, with a Pistol Bullet through his Spinal Marrow, died a
Penitent. Charity requires that We should hope and believe that his humiliation
was sincere, and I sincerely hope he was forgiven: but I will not
conceal his former Character at the Expence of so
much Injustice to my own, as this Scottish Creolion Bolingbroke in the days of
his disappointed Ambition and unbridled Malice and revenge, was pleased falsely
to attempt against it. Born on a Speck more obscure than Corsica, from an
Original not only contemptible but infamous, with infinitely less courage and
Capacity than Bonaparte, he would in my Opinion, if I had not
controuled the fury of his Vanity, instead of
relieving this Country from Confusion as Bonaparte did
France, he would have involved it in all the Bloodshed and
distractions of foreign and civil War at once.
Monday September 23.
A Letter of the 20 and 21st. from General Washington
; two of the 19th. from J.
Trumbull; one of the 21st. from the Convention of
Delaware; one of the 14th from R. Varick; one
of the 19th. from Governor Livingston; also, one of the 14th.
from General Schuyler and one of the 19th from Colonel
Van Schaick, and one from Dr. William Shippen were
Ordered that the Letter from Dr. Shippen be referred to the
medical Committee, and the rest to the Board of War.
Two Petitions, one from Colonel J. Stark, and the other
from Mons. Devourouy, were read and referred to the Board of
Tuesday September 24.
The Board of War brought in a report, which was read. Ordered to lie on the
The Board of War brought in a farther report. Ordered to lie on the
Congress resumed the Consideration of the Instructions to the Commissioners
and the same being debated by Paragraphs and amended, were agreed to.
These Instructions were recorded only on the Secret Journal, and are not
therefore, in my Power. They may be found, no doubt, at the Seat of Government,
in the Office of the Secretary of State.
Wednesday, September 25.
Two Letters from General Lee
one of the 24th. of August to the President, the other of the 27 of the same
Month to the board of War, both dated at
Savannah, being received, were read.
Congress took into Consideration the Report of the Board of War, whereupon
Resolved &c. These Resolutions fill two Pages of the Journal.
September 27. 1776.
Two Letters of the 24th. and 25th from
, with sundry Papers
; one of the 20th. from the Convention of
New York; one of the 22d. from Joseph Trumbull;
one of the 25th. from Colonel John Shee inclosing
his Commission; and one of the 25th. from
Jon. B. Smith requesting Leave to resign his office of Deputy
Muster Master general were laid before Congress and read. Ordered that the
Letters from General Washington
, be referred to a
Committee of five. The Members chosen Mr. Wythe, Mr.
Hopkinson, Mr. Rutledge,Mr. J.
, and Mr. Stone.
Ordered that the Secret Committee deliver to the Board of War, the Care And
Custody of all Arms, Ammunition and other warlike Stores now under their care,
or that may hereafter be imported or purchased by them for Account of
the United States of America.
Saturday September 28.
The Board of War, to whom the Petition of William McCue was
referred, brought in a report, whereupon Resolved, as in the Journal.
Monday September 30. 1776.
Resolved that the Board of War be impowered and
directed, on requisition of the General, or commanding Officers in the several
departments, to send such Articles of Military Stores, and other necessaries,
which they may have in their Possession, or can procure.
Resolved that the Board of War be directed to order the three
Virginia Battalions, now on their March to
New York, to be lodged in the Barracks
at Wilmington; there to remain till further orders.
The Committee to whom were referred the Letters from General Washington of the 24th. and 25th instant, and the
Papers inclosed therein, brought in their report,
which was taken into Consideration; whereupon many Resolutions were passed,
which appear in the Journal, and the Remainder of the Report
Tuesday October 1. 1776.
Resolved that a Committee of four be appointed to confer with
Brigadier General Mifflin. The Members chosen,
Mr. Hooper, Mr. Lynch R. H. Lee,
Mr. Sherman, Mr. J. Adams and
Resolved that a Committee of five be appointed to prepare and bring in a
Plan of a military Accademy at the Army: The Members
chosen Mr. Hooper, Mr. Lynch, Mr.
Wythe, Mr. Williams and Mr. J.
Wednesday October 2. 1776. On this same day, I wrote to
Colonel Knox in these Words. "This day I had the
honour of making a motion for the Appointment of a
Committee to consider of a Plan for the Establishment of a military
Accademy, in the Army. The Committee was appointed
and your Servant was one. Write me your Sentiments upon the Subject."
As this was, in my Opinion the most critical and dangerous Period of the
whole revolutionary War, as all that I had seen and heard and read of the State
of our Army made a great impression [upon] my Mind, and arroused the most allarming
Apprehension, I will conceal nothing from Posterity. My own private Letters, to
confidential Friends, will shew my Opinion at the time
of the State of facts, and the measures that were necessary, to retrieve our
disgraces. Like Mr. Gifford, I look back, with a sort of
Scepticism, on the Application of those days and cannot account for the
possibility of finding time amidst all my Employments in Congress and the Board
of War, to write and copy the Letters I find in my Books. I had no Secretary or
Clerk and all appears in my hand Writing. I wrote to Colonel
September 26. 1776
Your obliging favours
of September 6 from
New York and that of the 23d from the
Plains of Haarlem
, are now before me.
The Picture you draw of the Army, and the disorders which prevail in
it, is shocking: but I believe it is just. But We often find, that in the
of human life, that much good
grows out of great Evil. . . . A few disgraces and defeats have done more,
towards convincing the Congress, than the Rhetorick of many months, assisted by
frequent Letters from the General, and many other Officers of the Army, was
able to effect. Before this time you have been informed, that the Articles of
War, are passed and printed, and a new Plan for the formation of a permanent
and regular Army, is adopted. I wish it may have Success. -- Pray give me your
Opinion of it.
The late Events at
New York have almost overcome my Utmost Patience. I can bear the
Conflagration of Towns, nay almost any thing else, public or private, better
than disgrace. The Cowardice of
New England men is an unexpected discovery to me, and I confess
has put my Philosophy to the Tryal. If I had heard,
that Parsons's and Fellows's Brigades had been cutt to
Pieces, and had my Father, my Brother and Son been among the Slain, I sincerely
believe, upon a cool examination of my own heart, it would not have given me so
much grief as the shamefull flight of the 15th.
instant. . . . I hope that God will forgive the guilty in the next World: but,
should any question concerning this transaction, come into any place where I
have a Vote, I should think it my duty to be inexorable, in this. We have none
of the particulars, but I conclude, that such detestable Behaviour of whole Brigades, could not have happened,
without the worst Examples, in some Officers of Rank. -- These, if any such
there are, shall never want my Voice, for sending them to another World. If the
best Friend I have, should prove to be one of them, I should think myself
guilty of his Crime, and that I deserved his Punishment, if I interposed one
Word, between him and death.
I lament the Fall of the young Hero, Henly. But I wish you had been more
particular, in your narration of the Enterprize,
which proved so glorious and so fatal to him. You are much mistaken in your
Apprehension, that We are minutely informed of such Events. We suffer great
Anxiety, and the Public suffers many Misfortunes, for Want of Information.