George Washington Papers

Proclamation for the Cessation of Hostilities, 18 April 1783

Head Quarters Newburgh April 18th 1783

The Commander in Chief, orders the cessation of Hostilities, between the United States of America, and the King of Great Britain, to be publickly proclaimed, to morrow at the Newbuilding and that the proclamation, which will be communicated therewith, be read tomorrow evening at the Head of every Regiment and Corps of the Army—After which the Chaplains with the several Brigades will render thanks to the Almighty God, for all his mercies, particularly, for his over-ruling the wra[th] of man, to his own glory, and causing the rage of War, to cease amongst the Nations.

Although the proclamation before alluded to, extends only to the prohibition of Hostilities, and not of the annunciation, of a general peace; yet it must afford the most rational, and sincere satisfaction, to every benevolent mind. As it puts a period, to a long and doubtful test, stops the effusion of human blood, opens the prospect to a more sp[len]did scene; and like another morning Star; promises the approach of a brighter day, than hath hitherto illuminated the Western Hemisphere—On such a happy day, a day which is the harbinger of peace, a day which completes the eighth year of the War, it would be ingratitude not to rejoice! it would be insensibility not to participate in the general felicity.

The Commander in Chief, far from endeavouring to stifle the feeling of Joy in his own bosom, offers his [most] cordial congratulations, on the occasion, to all the [Officers] of every denomination, to all the Troops of the United States in general, and in particular, to those gallant, and persevering men, who had resolved to defend the invaded rights of their Country, so long as the War should continue—for these are the men, who ought to be considered, as the pride and boast of the American Army, and who crowned with well earned laurels, may soon withdraw, from the field of glory, to the more tranquil walks of Civil life—While the General recollects, the almost infinite variety of scenes, thro’ which we have passed, with a mixture of pleasure; astonishment and gratitude; while he contemplates, the prospects before us, with rapture, he cannot help wishing, that the brave men (of whatsoever condition they may be) who have shared in the Toils, and dangers of effecting this glorious revolution, of rescuing Millions, from the hand of Oppression, and of laying the foundation of a great Empire, might be impressed with a proper idea, of the dignified part, they have been called to act (under the smiles of providence) on the stage of human affairs, for happy, thrice happy, shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed anything, who have performed the meanest Office, in erecting this Stupendious Fabrick of Freedom & Empire, on the broad basis of Independency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of human nature, and establishing an Asylum for the poor, and oppressed of all nations and Religions.

The glorious task, for which we first flew to Arms, being accomplished, the Liberties of our Country, being fully acknowledged, and firmly secured by the smiles of Heaven on the purity of our cause, and the honest exertions of a feeble people; (determined to be free) against a powerful nation (disposed to oppress them) and the character of those, who have persevered, through every extremity of hardship, suffering, and Danger, being immortalized, by the illustrious appelation of the Patriot Army Nothing now remains, but for the actors of this mighty Scene to preserve a perfect unvarying consistency of character, through the very last act to close the Dramma with applause, and retire from the Military Theatre, with the same approbation of Angels and men, which have crowned, all their former actions. For this purpose, no disorder, or licentiousness, must be tolerated—every considerate, and well disposed Soldier, must remember, it will be necessary, to wait with patience, until peace shall be declared, or Congress shall be enabled to take proper measures, for the security of the public Stores &c.—As soon as these arrangements, shall be made, the General is confident, there will be no delay, in discharging with every mark of distinction, and honor; all the men, inlisted for the War, who will then have faithfully performed their engagements, with the public—The General has already interested himself in their behalf, and he thinks he need not repeat, the assurances, of his disposition, to be useful to them, on the present, and every other proper occasion, in the meantime, he is determined; that no Military neglects, or excesses, shall go unpunished, while he retains the command of the Army. An extra Ration of Liquor, to be issued to every man, tomorrow, to drink; Perpetual Peace, Independence and Happiness, to the United States of America.


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