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Seven years have nearly passed since the sword was Address of first unsheathed; the sums expended in so long a pe- the several riod, in a just and necessary war must appear mode states. rate, nor can this demand for pecuniary aid be deemed exorbitant by those who compute the extent of public exigencies and the proportion of the requisition to the abilities of the states.
Suppose not that funds exist for our relief beyond the limits of these states. As the possessions of the citizens constitute our natural resources, and from a sense of their sufficiency the standard of war was erected against Great Britain, so on them alone we now rely. But even if loans were attainable, their amount would be merely commensurate with our ability and inclination to repay, and by nothing can both be more satisfactorily evidenced than by a generous exertion amidst the languor of public credit.
Arguing from the former dilatoriness of supplies, the enemy after having abandoned serious expectations of conquest by arms, anticipate it in imagination from the dissolution of our public credit. They cannot however deny the firmness of the basis on which it may be placed, when they survey the wide limits of this confederate country, the fruitfulness of its soil and the industry of its people.
But the want of money is not the only source of our difficulties, nor do the enemy gather consolation from the state of our finances alone, we are distressed by the thinness of our battalions. So vulnerable does the boldness of navigation render the very bosom of these states, so dispersed in some parts is the population, and so rapid our enemy in transportation, that they seize and exhaust large districts before their ravages can be checked. The requisition for the completion of your battalions is therefore not only reasonable but indispensable.
Tardiness in the collection of our troops has constantly encouraged in our enemy a suspicion, that American opposition is on the decline; hence money, from time to time, is poured into the coffers of our enemy, and the lender perhaps is allared by the prospect of receiving it with an usurious interest from the spoils of confiscation.
To whom then, rather than yourselves, who are called to the guardianship and sovereignty of your coun
Address of try, cau these considerations be addressed? Joint lacongress to bourers, as we are, in the work of independence, duty the several states
impels us to admonish you of the crisis: We possess no funds, which do not originate with you—we can command no levies, which are not raised under your own acts. Well shall we acquit ourselves to the world, should peace, towards the acquisition of which so illustrious a point hath been gained, now escape our embraces by the inadequacy of our army or our treasure: for an appeal to this exposition of your affairs will demonstrate our watchfulness of your happiness.
We çonjure you to remember, 'what confidence we sball establish in the breast of that great Monarch, who has become a party in our political welfare, by a bold energetick display of our ability.
We therefore trust in your attention and zeal to avail yourselves at this important crisis, of the glorious advantages lately obtained, by a full compliance with the requisitions of
money which we have made to you; the necessity of which hath been pointed out to us by the maturest consideration on the present circumstances of these United States. By order of Congress,
JOHN HANSON, President. December 17th 1781.
THE STATE OF VIRGINIA.
Leller from General Washinglon to gen. Washe
the Governor of Virginia.
ington to the governor of
Philadelphia, 19th December 1781.
You will have been furnished by his excellency the President, with the resolves of congress of the 10th instant, calling upon the several states to compleat their respective quotas of troops by the first of March next. In order to ascertain the deficiencies, I am directed to transmit to the executives of the states, returns, under particular discriptions, of the number of men each has in service. The troops of your state composing part of the southern army, it would occasion an immense Joss of time were I first to call for the returns, and then transmit them them back from hence or wherever I may happen to be; I have for that reason directed major general Greene to furnish your excellency with the state of your line and give you credit for any men you may have serving in ihe legionary corps or artillery, deducting that amount from the quota assigned to you by the arrangement of the 3rd and 21st of October, 1780, will point out exactly your deficiency.
I fatter myself it is needless to impress upon your excellency the necessity of complying as fully as possible with the requisition of congress above mentioned.
It is a well known fact, that the critical and dangerous situation to which all the southern states were reduced, was owing to the want of a sufficient regular force to oppose to that of the enemy, who, taking advantage of the frequent dissolutions of our temporary armies, had gained such footing in the four most southern, that their governments were totally subverted or debilitated, that they were not capable of exerting sufficient authority to bring a regular army into the field. Happily, this scene is changed, and a moment is allowed us to rectify our past errors, and, if rightly improved, to put ourselves in such a situation, that we
Letter from need not be apprehensive of the force Great Britain bas ington to the remaining upon the continent, or which she can herefagovernor of ter probably bring. But the greatest encouragement to Virginia. a vigorous preparation is, that it will be the most like
ly method of gaining more allies and forcing Great Britain into a negociation, which we have every reason to suppose would end in a peace honorable to the interests and views of America.
I will take the liberty of recommending a matter to your excellency which I must solicit you to urge to the legislature, as absolutely necessary to the filling your regiments with proper men, more especially if the mode of drafting should be adopted. It is, stationing continental officers of the rank of field officers at least, at the different places of rendezvous, who shall judge of the ability of the recruit and pass him or reject him as circumstances may require. For want of a regulation of this kind, we have had hundreds of old men, mere children, disordered and decripid persons passed by civil characters appointed for muster masters, and have been under the necessity of discharging them the moment they have joined the army; whereby the state has been put to a vast expence for an useless man, and the service has lost a man for the campaign, as the districts from whence such have been sent, have scarce ever replaced them. The Secretary at War will address your excellency upon this subject, which I can assure you is of the utmost importance to the constitution of the army.
I have the honor to be,