FYI March 15, 2020

On This Day

1783 – In an emotional speech in Newburgh, New York, George Washington asks his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy. The plea is successful and the threatened coup d’état never takes place.
The Newburgh Conspiracy was what appeared to be a planned military coup by the Continental Army in March 1783, when the American Revolutionary War was at its end. The conspiracy may have been instigated by members in the Congress of the Confederation, who circulated an anonymous letter in the army camp at Newburgh, New York, on March 10, 1783. Soldiers were unhappy that they had not been paid for some time and that pensions that had been promised remained unfunded. The letter suggested that they should take unspecified action against Congress to resolve the issue. The letter was said to have been written by Major John Armstrong, aide to General Horatio Gates, although the authorship of its text and underlying ideas is a subject of historical debate.

Commander-in-Chief George Washington stopped any serious talk of rebellion when he successfully appealed on March 15 in an emotional address to his officers asking them to support the supremacy of Congress. Not long afterward, Congress approved a compromise agreement it had previously rejected: it funded some of the pay arrears, and granted soldiers five years of full pay instead of a lifetime pension of half pay.

The motivations of numerous actors in these events are the subject of debate. Some historians allege that serious consideration was given within the army to some sort of coup d’état, while others dispute the notion. The exact motivations of congressmen involved in communications with army officers implicated in the events are similarly debated.



Born On This Day

1852 – Augusta, Lady Gregory, Anglo-Irish landowner, playwright, and translator (d. 1932)
Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory (née Persse; 15 March 1852 – 22 May 1932)[1] was an Irish dramatist, folklorist and theatre manager. With William Butler Yeats and Edward Martyn, she co-founded the Irish Literary Theatre and the Abbey Theatre, and wrote numerous short works for both companies. Lady Gregory produced a number of books of retellings of stories taken from Irish mythology. Born into a class that identified closely with British rule, she turned against it. Her conversion to cultural nationalism, as evidenced by her writings, was emblematic of many of the political struggles to occur in Ireland during her lifetime.

Lady Gregory is mainly remembered for her work behind the Irish Literary Revival. Her home at Coole Park in County Galway served as an important meeting place for leading Revival figures, and her early work as a member of the board of the Abbey was at least as important as her creative writings for that theatre’s development. Lady Gregory’s motto was taken from Aristotle: “To think like a wise man, but to express oneself like the common people.”[2]




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