On the Ides of March, 1783 George Washington gives a dramatic speech, halting a coup by his officers against Congress and saving the fledgling United States.
The bulk of the Army was encamped in Newburgh, New York. Things were relatively peaceful as the politicians worked on the Treaty of Paris to end the War. But many officers hadn’t been paid in months and resentment toward Congress, more comfortably ensconced in Philadelphia was growing among the officer corps. The word was that a group was going to march on the city of Brotherly Love and overthrow the government.
It is 1783 A.D. The world’s population is roughly 900 million humans on the planet, of which only 3.1 million are part of the United States. Even though fighting had stopped, the war is not yet technically over on the 15th of March. That would happen in September. Catherine the Great of the Russian Empire annexes the Crimean Khanate, the last remnant of the Mongol Golden Horde; the last celebration of Massacre Day is held in Boston; the first public demonstration of a parachute jump is done in France by a man jumping from an observatory; the 1783 Great Meteor passes over the North Sea, Great Britain and France prompting fear and scientific speculatio. Some things change; some don’t.
The Speech Which Saved Our Country. Washington begins:
“Gentlemen: By an anonymous summons, an attempt has been made to convene you together; how inconsistent with the rules of propriety, how unmilitary, and how subversive of all order and discipline, let the good sense of the army decide… If my conduct heretofore has not evinced to you that I have been a faithful friend to the army, my declaration of it at this time would be equally unavailing and improper. But as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common country. As I have never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty. As I have been the constant companion and witness of your distresses, and not among the last to feel and acknowledge your merits. As I have ever considered my own military reputation as inseparably connected with that of the army. As my heart has ever expanded with joy, when I have heard its praises, and my indignation has arisen, when the mouth of detraction has been opened against it, it can scarcely be supposed, at this late stage of the war, that I am indifferent to its interests.”
Washington ends with:
“By thus determining–& thus acting, you will pursue the plain & direct Road to the attainment of your wishes. You will defeat the insidious designs of our Enemies, who are compelled to resort from open force to secret Artifice. You will give one more distinguished proof of unexampled patriotism & patient virtue, rising superior to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings; And you will, by the dignity of your Conduct, afford occasion for Posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to man kind, “had this day been wanting, the World had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.”
I had never heard of this speech, even though I attended West Point, just down the river from Newburgh and we’d studied the Revolutionary War in detail.
When I made it one of the missions Ides of March (Time Patrol) it seemed obvious to me, and the agents of the Time Patrol, that the Shadow would seek to change our history and thus obliterate our present, by preventing Washington from giving the speech. But as I being to write the mission something else came up and the mission took an entirely different direction.
For his 24-hour bubble in time, Time Patrol Agent Eagle finds himself a slave; his owner, George Washington. Apparently, his mission is to ensure Washington gives the speech as history records. But some have other plans.