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with the mere privilege of advice, but became the sport of an intrigue, by which Washington was to have been hurled from his elevated station with as little ceremony as if he had been a mere soldier of fortune. At this distant day it is hardly possible to trace the hidden movements of the cabal by which this attempt to force him into retirement was made; still there is positive evidence of the existence of a combination for the purpose; and, although it was ineffectual in attaining its object, it prevented the war from being brought to a decisive result for several years.

The movements of this cabal had so great an influence upon the subsequent fortunes of Hamilton, that they require to be examined in detail. As the aid of the commander-in-chief, he was the confidential minister of his magnanimous efforts to meet the envy and malevolence of some, and the misdirected energy of others; and it was probably from his tried and faithful service at this juncture that he acquired the unalterable good opinion of Washington, and secured himself in that relation which gave him so great an influence in the events which led to and succeeded the adoption of the federal Constitution.

CHAPTER IIL

Influences which were brought to bear against Washington.-Lee looked up to as a Leader.Gates brought forward in that Capacity.—Accession of Mifflin.-Acts of Congress.-Their probable Motives.-State of the Public Mind.Cessation of active Warfare in the North.Hamilton resigns his Station of Aid-de-camp.Views of the British Government.

THE secret influences that nearly caused the loss of the services of Washington to his country may be briefly comprised under the following heads: 1. The objection of the Eastern states, whose population filled the ranks of the army, to a commander of Southern birth. 2. The disaffection growing out of the frequent demand of the services of the militia, and its repugnance to strict discipline. 3. The existence of a party opposed to Washington among the officers of the army itself, and the final accession to this party of a cabal in the general Congress.

It was necessary to find a person of distinguished rank in the army, and prominent in the eyes of the public, to serve either as the instrument or leader of this cabal. Lee, who had high reputa

tion for military talent, and had contrived, by caustic and disparaging remarks, to cause the resources of Washington's mind to be called in question, might have figured in the latter capacity. Circumstances, developed in Wilkinson's Memoirs, seem to intimate that he was meditating a brilliant enterprise at the moment in which he was captured, that should have offered a marked contrast to the hurried retreat of Washington across Jersey before the active Cornwallis. His capture was, however, attended with circumstances little creditable to him; and his position as a native of Great Britain was a cause of the failure of a general arrangement for the exchange of prisoners. He therefore remained long in captivity, although Washington's exertions to establish a cartel were unceasing, and generous in the extreme, when we consider that the principal point of difference was in respect to a person whom he must have known for a rival.

The fame and popularity acquired by Gates for the capture of Burgoyne pointed him out as a proper instrument in the hands of the cabal. Weak and vainglorious, he was unfit to perform the part of a leader, but was easily induced to become a tool, although his vanity was such as to aspire to the highest station. His first act in opposition to Washington was probably suggested by his desire to remain at the head of an impor

tant and separate command. In this he was aided by the anxiety that was naturally felt for the recovery of the posts on the Hudson, captured by General Clinton in his unavailing attempt to relieve Burgoyne. For this reason Congress limited their orders to Gates for a detachment to reenforce the army of Washington to twenty-five hundred men, although the latter expressed his wish to receive seven thousand five hundred, which were absolutely necessary to put him in a condition to retake Philadelphia.

The thanks which were justly due to Gates as the commander of the army by which so brilliant an exploit as the capture of a British general with his whole army, were freely voted by Congress. But it escaped notice, that the convention under which the arms of that formidable expedition were laid down, was far less favourable to the United States than might have been obtained under the circumstances of the case. Gates himself was so sensible of this, that he volunteered an apology, through his aid-de-camp Wilkinson, for the terms which he had granted. The conditions, which Congress afterward found it necessary to refuse to comply with, were voted honourable and advantageous; and Gates, whose task had, in fact, been accomplished, was left in absolute control of the force he had commanded, under the pretence of a necessity to recover the posts on the Hudson, which

the enemy soon abandoned as untenable by them. This absolute control was vested in Gates by a resolution, making it obligatory on General Washington to consult with him as to the amount of the reenforcement he was to receive; and it was strongly urged that he should not be permitted to call for any re-enforcement without the concurrence of that officer.

The opposition to General Washington in the army mustered also in its ranks Mifflin, who had succeeded Gates in the appointment of quartermaster-general, and a number of foreigners who had been disappointed in their expectations of obtaining rank and influence. Among these, the most prominent was Conway. The wilful negligence or incompetency of Mifflin was productive of most disastrous effects; and to one or other, or to both united, is to be attributed the distress of the army in the winter-quarters of Valley Forge. If wilful negligence was the cause, he appears to have been prompted to it, as he was certainly supported when its effects became manifest, by a party in Congress. It thus happened, that at the close of the campaign in which so great success had been obtained as to secure the recognition of the United States as a nation, and thus to give facilities for supplies that had not before existed, the army was exposed to sufferings almost unexampled even in defeat.

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