Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776)
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. IV (1776).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
New York, 23 April, 1776.
In a letter, which I had the honor to receive from Congress some considerable time ago, they were pleased to ask what rank aids-de-camp bore in the army; from whence I concluded, that they had adverted to the extraordinary trouble and confinement of those gentlemen, with a view to make them an adequate allowance. But nothing being since done or said of the matter, I take the liberty, unsolicited by, and unknown to my aids-de-camp, to inform your honorable body, that their pay is not by any means equal to their trouble and confinement.
No person wishes more to save money to the public, than I do; and no person has aimed more at it. But there are some cases in which parsimony may be ill-placed; and this I take to be one. Aids-de-camp are persons in whom entire confidence must be placed; it requires men of abilities to execute the duties with propriety and despatch, where there is such a multiplicity of business, as must attend the Commander-in-chief of such an army as ours; and persuaded I am, that nothing but the zeal of those gentlemen, who live with me and act in this capacity, for the great American cause, and personal attachment to me, have induced them to undergo the trouble and confinement they have experienced, since they have become members of my family.
I give in to no kind of amusements myself; and consequently those about me can have none, but are confined from morning till eve, hearing and answering the applications and letters of one and another, which will now, I expect, receive a considerable addition, as the business of the northern and eastern departments, (if I continue here,) must, I suppose, pass through my hands. If these gentlemen had the same relaxation from duty as other officers have in their common routine, there would not be so much in it. But, to have the mind always upon the stretch, scarce ever unbent, and no hours for recreation, makes a material odds. Knowing this, and at the same time how inadequate the pay is, I can scarce find inclination to impose the necessary duties of their office upon them. To what I have here said, this further remark may be made, and it is a matter of no small concernment to me, and, in its consequences, to the public, and that is, that, while the duty is hard and the pay small, it is not to be wondered at, if there should be found a promptness in them to seek preferment, or in me to do justice to them by facilitating their views; by which means I must lose their aid, when they have it most in their power to assist me. Influenced by these motives, I have taken the liberty of laying the matter fully and with all due deference before your honorable body, not doubting its meeting with a patient hearing.1 I am, &c.2
[1 ]The pay of an aid-de-camp to the Commander-in-chief was at first fixed at thirty-three dollars a month. In consequence of this letter, it was raised to forty dollars. The rank was that of lieutenant-colonel. The aids-de-camp of major-generals ranked as majors.
[2 ]Read April 25th. Referred to R. H. Lee, J. Adams, and Henry.