Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR COOKE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO GOVERNOR COOKE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. III (1775-1776).
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TO GOVERNOR COOKE.
Cambridge, 5 December, 1775.
I have of late met with abundant reason to be convinced of the impracticability of recruiting this army to the new establishment, in any reasonable time by voluntary enlistments. The causes of such exceeding great lukewarmness I shall not undertake to point out; sufficient it is to know, that the fact is so. Many reasons are assigned; one only I shall mention, and that is, that the present soldiery are in expectation of drawing from the landed interest and farmers a bounty, equal to the allowance at the commencement of this army, and that therefore they play off. Be this as it may, I am satisfied that this is not a time for trifling, and that the exigency of our affairs calls aloud for vigorous exertions.
By sad experience it is found, that the Connecticut regiments have deserted, and are about to desert, the noble cause we are engaged in. Nor have I any reason to believe, that the forces of New Hampshire, this government, or Rhode Island, will give stronger proofs of their attachment to it, when the period arrives that they may claim their dismission. For after every stimulus in my power to throw in their way, and near a month’s close endeavor, we have enlisted — men, one thousand five hundred of which are to be absent at a time on furlough, until all have gone home in order to visit and provide for their families.
Five thousand militia, from this government and the colony of New Hampshire, are ordered to be at this place by the 10th instant, to relieve the Connecticut regiments and supply the deficiency, which will be occasioned by their departure and of those on furlough.1 These men, I have been told by officers, who were eyewitnesses to their behavior, are not to be depended on for more than a few days; as they soon get tired, grow impatient, ungovernable, and of course leave the service. What will be the consequence, then, if the greatest part of the army is to be composed of such men? Upon the new establishment twenty-six regiments were ordered to be raised, besides those of the artillery and riflemen; of these New Hampshire has three, Massachusetts sixteen, Rhode Island two, and Connecticut five. A mode of appointing the officers was also recommended, and as strictly adhered to as circumstances would admit of. These officers are now recruiting, with the success I have mentioned.
Thus, Sir, have I given you a true and impartial state of our situation, and submit it to the wisdom of your and the other three New England colonies, whether some vigorous measures, if the powers of government are adequate, ought not to be adopted, to facilitate the completion of this army without offering a bounty from the public, which Congress have declared against, thinking the terms, exclusive thereof, greater than ever soldiers had.1 I have, by this conveyance, laid the matter before Congress, but the critical situation of our affairs will not await their deliberation and recommendation; something must be done without further delay.
I am, Sir, &c.2
[1 ]“It was mentioned to me yesterday in conversation that the militia of this government who were ordered in to supply the places of the Connecticut troops, are allowed 40/ per month of 28 days. The first I highly approved of, because I was unwilling to see any invidious distinction in pay, the never failing consequence of which is jealousy and discord. But, Sir, if the General Court of this Colony have resolved on the latter, you must give me leave to add, that it aims the most fatal stab to the peace of this army that ever was given, and that Lord North himself could not have devised a more effectual blow to the recruiting Service. Excuse me, Sir, for the strength of these expressions. If my information is wrong (I had it from General Heath, who says he had it from a member of your Court) they are altogether improper and I crave your pardon for them; if right my Zeal in the American cause must plead my excuse.”—Washington to the President of the Council of Massachusetts Bay, 6 December, 1775.
[1 ]“You entreat the general officers to recommend to Congress the giving of a bounty. But his Excellency General Washington has often assured us that the Congress would not give a bounty, and before they would give a bounty they would give up the dispute. The cement between the Northern and Southern colonies is not very strong if forty thousand lawful will induce the Congress to give us up.”—General Greene to Governor Ward.
[2 ]At this time the army at Cambridge was suffering much distress for the want of firewood and hay. The Assembly of Massachusetts undertook to supply these articles, by calling on the towns within twenty miles of Boston, to furnish at stated times specific quantities, according to the population of each town, and its distance from camp. This requisition was generally complied with by the selectmen and committees of the towns, although it was issued only in the form of a recommendation, and the wants of the army were effectually relieved. These supplies were furnished at the charge of the colony. A committee of the Assembly was likewise authorized to procure wood from such woodlands as they thought proper, even without the consent of the owner, a reasonable price being paid for the wood thus taken away.—Journal of the Assembly, December 2d, 16th, and 23d.