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policies ; to make those mutual concessions which are requi
site to the general prosperity ; and, in some instances, to * facrifice their individual advantages to the interest of the community. . :
21. These are the pillars on which the glorious fabric of our independency and national character must be supported. Liberty is the basis and whoever would dare to fap the foundation, or overturn the structure, under whatever fpecious pretext he may attempt it, will merit the bitterelt execration, and the severest punishment, which can be inflicted by his injured country,
22. On the three first articles I will make a few obfervations ; leaving the last to the good sense and ferious confideration of those immediately concerned. iji
23. Under the first head, although it may not be necefsary or proper for me in this place to enter into a particular difquisition of the principles of the union, and to take up the great question which has been frequently agitated, whether it be expedient and requisite for the states to delegate a larger proportion of power to congress, or not ; yet it will be a part of my duty, and that of every true patriot, to affert without reserve, and to infilt upon the following positions ;
24. That unless the states will suffer congress to exercise those prerogatives they are undoubtedly invested with by the conftitution, every thing must very rapidly tend to anarchy and confusion : that it is indispenfable to the happiness of the individual states. that there should be lodged, somewhere, a supreme power to regulate and govern the general concerns of the confederated republic, without which the union cannot be of long duration :
25. That there must be a faithful and pointed compli. ance on the part of every state with the late propofals and demands of congress, or the most fatal consequences will enfue : that whatever measures have a tendency to dissolve the union, or contribute to violate or lessen the fovereign authority, ought to be considered as hostile to the liberty and independency of America, and the authors of them treated accordingly.
26. And, lastly, that unless we can be enabled by the concurrence of the states to participate of the fruits of the
revolution, and enjoy the effential benefits of civil society, inder a form of government fo free and uncorrupted, fo happily guarded against the danger of oppression, as has been devised and adopted by the articles of confederation, it will be à subject of regret, that so much blood and treasure have been lavished for no purpose ; that so many sufferings have been encountered without a compensation, and that fo many facrifices have been made in vain.
27. Many other confiderations might here be adduced to prove, that without an entire conformity to the spirit of the union, we cannot exist as an independent power. It will be sufficient for my purpose to mention but one or two, which Teem to me of the greatest importance.
28. It is only in our united character, as an empire, that our independence is acknowledged, that our power can be regarded, or our credit fupported among foreign nations. The treaties of the European powers with the United States of America will have no validity on a diffolution of the nnion.
29. We shall be left nearly in a state of nature ; or we may find, by our own unhappy experience, that there is a natural and necessary progression from the extreme of anarchy.to the extreme of tyranny ; and that arbitrary power is molt easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
30. As to the second article, which respects the perform. ance of public justice, congress have, in their late address to the United States, almost exhausted the subject ; they have explained their ideas so fully, and have enforced the obligations the states are under to render complete justice to all the public creditors, with so much dignity and energy, that, in my opinion, no real friend to the honor and independency of America can hesitate a single moment refpe&ing the propriety of complying with the just and honorable meafures proposed.
31. If their arguments do not produce convi&tion, I know of nothing that will have greater influence, especially when we reflect that the system referred to, being the resulta of the collected wisdom of the continent, must be esteemed, if not perfect, certainly the least objectionable of any that could be devifed ; and that, if it fhould not be carried into
immediate execution, a national bankruptcy, with all its dè. plorable consequences, will take place before any different plan can pofsibly be proposed or adopted ; so pressing are the present circumstances, and such is the alternative now offered to the ftates.
32. The ability of the country to discharge the debts - which have been incurred in its defence, is not to be doubt. ed ; and inclination, I flatter myself, will not be wanting. The path of our duty is plain before us ; honelty will be found, on every experiment, to be the best and only true policy.
33. Let us then, as a nation, be just ; let us fulfil the public contracts which congress had undoubtedly a right tomake for the purpose of carrying on the war, with the same good faith we suppose ourselves bound to perform our private engagements.
34. In the mean time, let an attention to the cheerful performance of their proper business, as individuals, and as members of society, be earnestly inculcated on the citizens of America ; then will they strengthen the bands of government, and be happy under its protection. Every one will reap the fruit of his labors : every one will enjoy his own acquisitions, without molestation and without danger.
35. In this state of absolute freedom and perfea security, who will grudge to yield a very little of his property to support the common interests of fociety, and ensure the protection of government ? Who does not remember the frequent declarations at the commencement of the war, That we should be completely satisfied, if, at the expense of one half, we could defend the remainder of our possessions ?
36. Where is the man to be found, who wishes to remain in debt, for the defence of his own person and proper. ty, to the exertions, the bravery, and the blood of others, without making one generous effort to pay the debt of honor and of gratitude ? In what part of the continent shall we find any man, or body of men, who would not blush to Aand up and propose measures purposely calculated to rob the foldier of his tipend, and the public creditor of his due ?
37. And were it possible that such a Aagrant instance of ; injustice could ever happen, would it not excite the general
indignation, and tend to bring down upon the authors of such meafures the aggravated vengeance of heaven? .
38. If, after all, a fpirit of disunion, or a temper of obftinacy and perverseness should manifest itself in any of the states, if such an ungracious disposition should attempt to frustate all the happy effects that might be expected to flow from the union; if there should be a refusal to comply with requisitions for funds to discharge the annual interest of the public debts; and if that refusal should revive all those jealousies, and produce all those evils, which are now happily removed, congress, who have in all their transactions, shown a great degree of magnanimity and justice, will stand justified in the fight of God and man ! and that ftate alone, which puts itself in opposition to the aggregate wisdom of the continent, and follows such mistaken and pernicious councils, will be responsible for all the consequences.
39. For my own part, conscious of having acted while a fervant of the public, in the manner I conceived best suited to promote the real interests of my country ; having in consequence of my fixed belief, in fome measure pledged myself to the army, that their country would finally do them complete and ample justice ; and not wishing to conceal any instance of my official conduct from the eyes of the world, I have thought proper to transmit to your excellency the enclosed collection of papers, relative to the half-pay and commutation granted by congress to the officers of the army.
40. From these communications my decided sentiment vill be clearly comprehended, together with the conclufive reasons which induced me, at an early period, to recommend the adoption of this meafure in the most earnest and serious manner.
41. As the proceedings of congress, the army, and my. self, are open to all, and contain, in my opinion, fufficient information to remove the prejudices and errors which may have been entertained by any, I think it unnecessary to say any thing more than just to observe, that the resolutions of congress, now alluded to, are as undoubtedly and absolutely binding upon the United States, as the most folemn acts of confederation or legislation. ;
42. ' As to the idea which, I am informed, has in fome.
instances prevailed, that the half-pay, and commutation are. to be regarded merely in the odious light of a penfion, it ought to be exploded for ever. : that provision should be viewed, as it really was, a reasonable compensation offered by. congress, at a time when they had nothing else to give to officers of the army, for services then to be performed.
43. It was the only means to prevent a total dereliction of the service. It was a part of their hire ; I may be al.. lowed to say, it was the price of their blood, and of your independency. It is therefore more than a common debt : it is a debt of honor ; it can never be considered as a pension or gratuity, nor cancelled until it is fairly discharged.
44. With regard to the distinction between officers and foldiers, it is sufficient that the uniform experience of every nation of the world combined with our own, proves the utility and propriety of the discrimination. Rewards in proportion to the aid the public draws from them, are unquestionably due to all its fervants.
45. In fome lines, the foldiers have perhaps, generally, had as ample compensation for their services, by the large bounties which have been paid them, as their officers will receive in the proposed commutation ;
46. In others, if, besides the donation of land, the pay. ment of arrearages of clothing and wages, (in which articles all the component parts of the army must be put upon the fame footing,) we take into the estimate the bounties many of the foldiers have received, and the gratuity of one
year's full pay, which is promised to all, poftibly their fitu. cation, (every circumstance being duly considered,) will not t be deemed less eligible than that of the officers.
47. Should a farther reward, however, be judged equit. able, I will venture to affert, no man will enjoy greater sat. isfaction than myself, in an exemption from taxes for a limited time, (which has been petitioned for in some instances,) or any other adequate immunity or compensation granted to the brave defenders of their country's cause.
48. But neither the adoption or rejection of this proposition will, in any manner, affect, much less militate against, the act of congress, by which they have offered five years full pay, in lieu of the half-pay for life, which had been before promised to the officers of the army.