c. 25 March 1783
Many Events have lately occurrd which have occasioned me to trouble your Excelly with my Correspondence of Private nature—I now take the Liberty of Writing to you by desire of a Committe of which I have the Honor to be one, to whom your very Interesting dispatches to Congress of the 15th of this month were committed. You will without doubt have been informd Sr & have received with Pleasure the Intelligence of the Vote for the Commutation having passd Congress the Same day on which Yr Excellency’s dispatches containing the truely sensible and Patriotic Resolutions of the Officers of the Army convened by Yr Excellency’s Authority were received. On that happy event I most Cordially Congratulate you Sr and my Quondam Brother officers—I think it must give the most sensible Pleasure to every Friend of this Country—that an event so interesting shd take place—at the very moment that a Certainty of Peace was announced—And that the Civil and Military at that Critical Juncture shd so harmonize on the Capital object of their Wishes—this event will I trust Eradicate from the minds of every Generous & thinking Man in the United States in whatever Station he may be every Vestige of Suspicion which those of an opposite Complexion might have endeavord to Implant—If my Conceptions of the Sense of Congress are right—I think I can assure Your Excellency—that all those Suspicions which may have been entertaind—of want of Gratitude to the Army or a desire to do them complete and ample Justice, are totally groundless—Your Excellency I hope knows too well my Candor to Imagine I wd attempt to deceive—If I have built my opinions (on this head) on an erroneous Idea of Congress, the Moment Such error is discoverd by me I shall think myself unpardonable not to disclose it. You Will perceive Sr by the Enclosed rough Copies No. 1 & 2 which the Committe have had under their Consideration, what is their Sense and what they have reason to think is the Sense of Congress—We have thought it necessary to make to you Sr a Confidential communication of our Sentiments in hopes that you will favor us with your opinion thereon at large.
Our doubt arises solely from this Consideration—viz. that the Enormous Expence of keeping the whole Army in the field untill their "Accounts are Liquidated—the Ballances accurately ascertaind, and Funds Established for the Payment, would be productive of the most Ruinous Consequences to the United States—might occasion Clamors among the Citizens—Embarrass the Measures which Congress mean to take and so effect their Finances as to render it impossible to comply with what the Army most desire viz. a punctual discharge of the debt due to them, on settlement. Your Excellency will I think require no Argument to shew the force of these observations—I will say nothing of the effects which ever have and ever will arise from keeping a large Army in the Field in a state of Inactivity, without any other object to employ their minds on, than their past sufferings and present distresses a relief of which must be inevitably removed to a further distance by the very means they appear to point out—to procure it. Altho the resolutions of the Army on the Address to them by Yr Excellency are perfectly explicit, and breathe the most entire confidence in the Justice of Congress—and the Sincere Intentions of that Body towards them—Yet lest some latent Spark of Suspicion undiscoverd by the Convention, shd unexpectedly discover it self, and laying hold of an ambiguous Expression or even the silence of Congress on some material point—does not Yr Excellency concieve an Explicit and full declaration of Congress not only of their Intentions to do Ample Justice but of the mode by which it is to be done as far as demands on them, will be proper? Shd You Sr think proper to offer any amendment to either of the Enclosed resolutions or to start any new Idea—that may be thought more effectual than those they contain—you may be assured of their being laid before the Committe in the most Confidential manner and of receiving all possible attention—Altho I write now at the request of the committe you will be pleased to consider this communication, as not of a Public or official nature and communicable only to those in whom the most entire confidence is reposed—I need not inform your Excelly of the earnest desire which the Committe have to make their report on this Subject as speedily as possible—as you are fully apprized of the necessity of it, renderd, in my opinion, the more necessary by the great and Glorious event which has been so lately Announced to us of a General Peace—On which occasion I most Cordially and Sincerely Congratulate Yr Excellency—with an assurance, that Peace or War will never change in me the Unalterable affection and Esteem with which I am Yr Excelly’s most obedt & most Humb. Svt
P.S. You will excuse Sr the hasty manner in which this has been written—as a fear of loosing the opportunity by the Post has deprived me of the power of revising it.
"Rough Copies No. 1 & 2" not translated.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
c. 25 March 1783
No. 1 That they be further informed that Congress will Take the most Speedy and effectual measures to Settle the accounts of the whole Army as well for the half Pay, or commutation if accepted as for the arrearages due to them in the most ample and Satisfactory manner—and will devise the best and most efficacious means of Providing funds for the discharge of the Interest and Principal found due to them on such Settlement—and assure the Army that Congress will not direct any Line or corps to be disbanded untill they be respectively Marchd to a Rendevous within their respective States, and their accounts shall be finally settled & adjusted.
No. 2 That he be further informed it is the Intention of Congress to effect the Settlement of the accounts of the Respective lines previous to their reduction and that Congress are doing and will continue to do every thing in their Power towards procuring Satisfactory securities for what shall be found due on such Settlement.