Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOHN CADWALADER. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780)
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TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOHN CADWALADER. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VIII (1779-1780).
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TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOHN CADWALADER.
Head-Qrs.,Tappan, 5 October, 1780.
I have to acknowledge and thank you for your obliging and friendly letter of the 20th ulto.—It came to this place in my absence from the army and during my necessary detention at West point on a very interesting but disgraceful incident in our military occurrences.
Altho I have but little leizure for the gratification of private correspondencies, I beg you to be assured, that, from a warmth of friendship, any letters of yours will be gratefully accepted; and it is with much pleasure I receive fresh assurances of your regard and attachment to me. We are now drawing an inactive campaign to a close; the beginning of which appeared pregnant with events of a favorable complexn. I hoped, but I hoped in vain, that a prospect was displaying, which wd. enable me to fix a period to my military pursuits, and restore me to domestic life. The favorable disposition of Spain, the promised succor from France, the combined force in the West Indies, the declaration of Russia (acceded to by other powers of Europe, and humiliating to the naval pride and power of Great Britain), the superiority of France and Spain by sea in Europe, the Irish claims and English disturbances, formed in the aggregate an opinion in my breast, (which is not very susceptible of peaceful dreams,) that the hour of deliverance was not far distant; for that, however unwilling Great B. might be to yield the point, it would not be in her power to continue the contest. But alas! these prospects, flattering as they were, have prov’d delusory, and I see nothing before us but accumulating distress.
We have been half of our time without provision, and are likely to continue so. We have no magazines, nor money to form them; and in a little time we shall have no men, if we had money to pay them. We have lived upon expedients till we can live no longer. In a word, the history of the war is a history of false hopes and temporary devices, instead of system and œconomy. It is in vain, however, to look back, nor is it our business to do so. Our case is not desperate, if virtue exists in the people, and there is wisdom among our rulers. But to suppose that this great revolution can be accomplished by a temporary army, that this army will be subsisted by State supplies, and that taxation alone is adequate to our wants, is in my opinion absurd, and as unreasonable as to expect an Inversion in the order of nature to accommodate itself to our views. If it was necessary, it could easily be proved to any person of a moderate share of understanding, that an annual army or an army raised on the spur of the occasion, besides being unqualified for the end designed, is, in various ways which could be enumerated, ten times more expensive than a permanent body of men, under good organization and military discipline, which never was nor never will be the case of new Troops. A thousand arguments, resulting from experience and the nature of things, might also be adduced to prove, that the army, if it is to depend upon State supplies, must disband or starve; and that taxation alone, (especially at this late hour,) cannot furnish the means to carry on the War. Is it not time then to retract from error, and benefit by experience? Or do we want further proof of the ruinous system we have pertinaciously adhered to?
You seem to regret not having accepted the appointment of Congress to a command in the American army. It is a circumstance, that ever was most sincerely regretted by me; and it is the more to be lamented, as we find an officer high in rank and military reputation capable of turning apostate and attempting to sell his Country. Men of independent spirit and firmness of mind must step forth to rescue our affairs from the embarrassments they have fallen into, or they will suffer in the general wreck. I do not mean to apply this more to the military than civil line. We want the best and ablest men in both.
To tell you, if any event shd. ever bring you to the army, and you have no comd. in it equal to your merit, nor place more agreeable to your wishes than being a member of my family, that I should be happy in seeing you there, would only be announcing a truth, which has often been repeated, and wch. I hope you are convinced. My best respects attend Mrs. Cadwalader, and compliments of congratulation to both of you on the increase of your family. With sentiments of the most sincere regard and affection, I am, dear Sir, &c.1
[1 ]General Cadwalader had written: “I have now reason to wish I had accepted the command given me by Congress; but at that time I conceived that the war was near a conclusion. Many others were of the same opinion, and we flattered ourselves with expectations of a speedy peace. In this, however, I remember you widely differed in opinion. Whatever may be the event, be assured there is no person in America more firmly attached to you as commander, and to the general cause; and, should our affairs take an unfortunate turn, I shall to the last share with you the misfortunes of the times.”—September 20th.