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" For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter. "

Address to the Officers of the Army | Saturday, March 15, 1783

Editorial Notes

Known today as the Newburg Address, Washington gave an emotional speech to his officers on March 15, 1783.  Responding to an anonymous petition which encouraged officers to protest if Congress did not provide the promised pay and pensions, Washington told his troops that the petition had some valid points, that he supported his officers, but the author’s proposed solution of mutiny was not the answer.  Washington supported the freedom to express their opinions, and used this very petition to remind his troops what they were fighting for – their freedom. 

From George Washington to Officers of the Army, 15 March 1783