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Conway Cabal

CONWAY CABAL

CONWAY CABAL, the name applied to the New England coterie in the Continental Congress and its efforts (1777–1778) to regain control of the army and the Revolution. The name comes from Major General Thomas Conway's letter to Horatio Gates, proposing to replace Washington with Gates as leader of the military campaigns. More generally, members opposed the alliance with France and resented Congress and Washington's authority. The plan backfired, however. When the plots were exposed, Washington received renewed public support that overwhelmed the conspirators both in Congress and in the army. Conway resigned from the army and was replaced by Gen. Friedrich von Steuben.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brookhiser, Richard. Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. New York: Free Press, 1996.

Mintz, Max M. The Generals of Saratoga: John Burgoyne and Horatio Gates. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990.

John C.Fitzpatrick/t. d.

See alsoRevolution, American: Military History ; War and Ordnance, Board of .

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Conway Cabal

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 Gates was flushed with success by his victory in the Saratoga campaign. Some Congressmen and army officers favored Gates as commander in chief. Gen. Thomas Conway, personally irritated with Washington, wrote a letter to Gates severely criticizing Washington. James Wilkinson of Gates's staff quoted to William Alexander (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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Conway Cabal

Conway Cabal In US history, a plot in 1777 named after Thomas Conway. The group plotted, but failed, to remove George Washington as commander and replace him with Horatio Gates. Investigations revealed that the plot was not instigated by Conway.

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