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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - 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 THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 24 January, 1776.
The Commissary General being at length returned from a long and painful illness, I have it in my power to comply with the requisition of Congress in forwarding an estimate of the expence attending his office, as also that of the Quartermaster General. You will please to observe that the Commissary, by his account of the matter, has entered into no special agreement with any of the persons he has found occasion to employ (as those to whose names sums are annexed are of their own fixing) but left it to Congress to ascertain their wages: I shall say nothing therefore on this head further than relates to the proposition of Mr. Miller, to be allowed ⅛ for his trouble and the delivery of the other ⅞ of provisions, which to me appears exorbitant in the extreme, however, conformable it may be to custom and usage. I therefore think that reasonable stipends had better be fixed upon. Both the Quartermaster and Commissary generals assure me that they do not employ a single person uselessly, and as I have too good an opinion of them to think they would deceive me, I believe them.
I shall take the liberty of recommending the expediency, indeed the absolute necessity, of appointing fit and proper persons to settle the accounts of this army. To do it with precision requires time, care, and attention. The longer it is left undone, the more intricate they will be, the more liable to error, and difficult to explain and rectify; as also the persons in whose hands they are, if disposed to take undue advantage, will be less subject to detection. I have been as attentive, as the nature of my office would admit of, in granting warrants for money on the pay-master; but it would be absolutely impossible for me to go into an examination of all the accounts incident to this army, and the vouchers appertaining to them, without devoting so large a portion of my time to the business, as might not only prove injurious, but fatal to it in other respects. This ought, in my humble opinion, to be the particular business of a select committee of Congress, or one appointed by them, who, once in three months at farthest, should make a settlement with the officers in the different departments.
Having met with no encouragement from the governments of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as to my application for arms, and expecting no better from Connecticut and Rhode Island, I have, as the last expedient, sent one or two officers from each regiment into the country, with money to try if they can buy. In what manner they succeed, Congress shall be informed as soon as they return. Congress, in my last, would discover my motives for strengthening these lines with the militia; but whether, as the weather turns out exceedingly mild, (insomuch as to promise nothing favorable from ice,) and as there is no appearance of powder, I shall be able to attempt any thing decisive, time only can determine. No man upon earth wishes more ardently to destroy the nest in Boston, than I do; no person would be willing to go greater lengths than I shall, to accomplish it, if it shall be thought advisable. But if we have neither powder to bombard with, nor ice to pass on, we shall be in no better situation than we have been in all the year; we shall be worse, because their works are stronger.
I have accounts from Boston, which I think may be relied on, that General Clinton, with about four or five hundred men, has left that place within these four days. Whether this is part of the detachment, which was making up (as mentioned in my letter of the fourth instant, and then at Nantasket) or not, it is not in my power to say. If it is designed for New York or Long Island, as some think, throwing a body of troops there may prove a fortunate circumstance. If they go farther south, agreeably to the conjectures of others, I hope there will be men to receive them. Notwithstanding the positive assertions of the four captains from Portsmouth, noticed in my letter of the 14th, I am now convinced from several corroborating circumstances, the accounts of deserters and of a Lieut. Hill of Lord Percy’s regiment, who left Ireland the 5 of November, and was taken by a privateer from Newburyport, that the 17th and 55th regiments are arrived in Boston, and other troops at Halifax, agreeable to the information of Hutchinson and others. Lieut. Hill says that the transports of two regiments only were forced into Milford Haven.
Congress will think me a little remiss, I fear, when I inform them, that I have done nothing yet towards raising the battalion of marines; but I hope to stand exculpated from blame, when they hear the reason, which was, that already having twenty-six incomplete regiments, I thought it would be adding to an expense, already great, in officers, to set two entire corps of officers on foot, when perhaps we should not add ten men a week by it to our present numbers. In this opinion the general officers have concurred, which induced me to suspend the matter a little longer. Our enlistments, for the two last weeks, have not amounted to a thousand men, and are diminishing. The regiment for Canada, it is thought, will soon be filled, as the men are to choose all but their field-officers, who are appointed by the Court.
On Sunday evening, thirteen of the Caghnawaga Indians arrived here on a visit. I shall take care that they be so entertained during their stay, that they may return impressed with sentiments of friendship for us, and also of our great strength. One of them is Colonel Louis, who honored me with a visit once before.1 I have, &c.2
[1 ]“1776, January 24, Wednesday. Began my journey to Philadelphia. Dined at C. Mifflin’s, at Cambridge, with G. Washington and Gates and their ladies, and half a dozen sachems and warriors of the French Caghnawaga tribe, with their wives and children. Williams is one who was captured in his infancy and adopted. There is a mixture of white blood, French or English, in most of them. Louis, their principal, speaks English and French, as well as Indian. It was a savage feast, carnivorous animals devouring their prey; yet they were wondrous polite. The General introduced me to them as one of the grand council fire at Philadelphia, upon which they made me many bows and a cordial reception.”—John Adams’ Diary, Works, ii., 431.
[2 ]Read in Congress, February 9th. Referred to Chase, J. Adams, Penn, Wythe, and Rutledge.