Conway Cabal


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Conway Cabal,

1777, intrigue in the American Revolution to remove George Washington as commander in chief of the Continental Army. Washington had been defeated at Brandywine and Germantown, and Horatio GatesGates, Horatio,
c.1727–1806, American Revolutionary general, b. Maldon, Essex, England. Entering the British army at an early age, he fought in America in the French and Indian War and served in the expedition against Martinique.
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 was flushed with success by his victory in the Saratoga campaign. Some Congressmen and army officers favored Gates as commander in chief. Gen. Thomas ConwayConway, Thomas,
1735–1800?, general in the Continental army in the American Revolution, b. Ireland. Educated in France, he was an officer in the French army before coming (1777) to America.
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, personally irritated with Washington, wrote a letter to Gates severely criticizing Washington. James WilkinsonWilkinson, James,
1757–1825, American general and one of the most corrupt and devious officers in the nation's early army, b. Calvert co., Md. Abandoning his medical studies in 1776 to join the army commanded by George Washington, he served as a captain in Benedict
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 of Gates's staff quoted to William AlexanderAlexander, William,
known as Lord Stirling
, 1726–83, American Revolutionary general, b. New York City. Although the House of Lords rejected his claim to succeed as the 6th earl of Stirling, in America he was generally considered a nobleman.
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 (Lord Stirling) a phrase purportedly from this letter, and Alexander repeated it to Washington, who sent the quotation to Gates without comment. Gates wrote an elaborate defensive reply and sent it to Washington through Congress. Public opinion supported Washington, and the plot—if such it was—came to nothing. As it turned out, the much-quoted phrase was not in Conway's letter at all, and his name has been unfairly used to designate the cloudy scheme.
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