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Cincinnati #3

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Looks like Cincinnati had yet another name maybe before Losantiville.  pg
254 "Washington The Indispensible Man" by James Thomas Flexner.

"Having recognized the British role, Washington secured from Congress the
enlargement of the tiny regular army by one regiment.  In 1791, a force
under Gen. Arthur St. Clair advanced from Ft. Washington (Cincinnati) [The
author's addition not mine] into present-day Indiana to chastise the warring
tribes.  Washington warned St. Clair to beware of ambush.  During Nov., St.
Clair was ambushed in a replay of the defeat of Braddock that was perhaps
Washington's most dreadful memory."

But this is what I remembered with a shudder about the Society of
Cincinnati.  It was a terrible climate for soldier and officer alike
following the Rev. War.  There just was no money to pay the soldiers.
Congress rationalized the nonpayment by saying, after all they were patriots
and as such should not expect to gain money from doing their patriotic duty.
But these people had lost so much financially.  Officers like St. Clair and
Benedict Arnold (pre treason) had lost all their property, their health,
their loved ones, and many times financed  the clothing and feeding of their
troops on their meager credit.  Congress time and again played a game of
pitting one honest competent General against another incompetent favorite.
They wouldn't even give rewards such as medals to show their support to the
officers.  So the common soldier saw good officers ignored and maliciously
attacked by inferior officers that high tailed it back to the Congress to
give a deliberately bad report and thus secure their own advancement over
the good officers that stayed in the combat and couldn't be spared to come
back to defend themselves.  So here in the Society of Cincinnati were
officers who didn't trust Congress anymore and were planning to sneak a
different type of government into the United States. Because Washington felt
so deeply about the treatment of the officers and soldiers, he had seen the
Society as an instrument to help their situation so he agreed to be a part
of it.   On  pg 201 we read:

"An institution from the days of the Newburgh Addresses, when Washington had
risked his command to stop the potentially "facist" alliance of army
officers and financiers, had remained active into the time of Shays'
Rebellion.  As the officers had prepared angrily to go home unpaid, they had
organized the SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI.  Washington, assured that the
society was a charitable organization aimed at ameliorating the hardships
into which the deprived officers might fall, had gratefully accepted the
post of president-general.  But no sooner was he back at Mount Vernon then
it was charged that the Cincinnati was actually an effort to graft a
hereditary aristocracy on the United States.
    When Washington reread the charter, now suspiciously, he saw there were
dangerous provisions:  membership was to pass, like titles in Europe, by
primogeniture, and there were clauses that would permit the expansion of the
society by the election of nonmilitary citizens.  To make this seem all the
more ominous, the Cincinnati was the only important organization in addition
to the Continental Congress that extended across all the thirteen states.
    At the first convention of the Cincinnati, in 1784, Washington had
fought hard to have the provisions that had any political bearing removed.
When it seemed that he had succeeded, he accepted reelection as
president-general.  But the state societies managed to veto what had been
passed by the national meeting.  And now, in 1786, Shays' Rebellion
coincided with the appointed time for the next national meeting.  Here was
an opportunity to fight fire from the left with at least the threat of fire
from the right.  But Washington refused to countenance the meeting of the
organization which had refused to become apolitical.  He announced that he
would not go.  As a result the Cincinnati's meeting was poorly attended and
came to little."

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