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, 25 April, 1776.
I have not yet heard, that there has been any trial of the prizes carried into Massachusetts Bay. This procrastination is attended with very bad consequences. Some of the vessels I had fitted out are now laid up, the crews being dissatisfied that they cannot get their prize-money. I have tired the Congress upon this subject; but the importance of it makes me again mention, that, if a summary way of proceeding is not resolved on, it will be impossible to get our vessels manned. I must also mention to you, Sir, that Captain Manly and his crew are desirous to know when they may expect their part of the value of the ordnance stores taken last fall. They are anxious to know what the amount may be. As the inventory of that cargo is in the hands of Congress, I would humbly submit it to them, whether a valuation thereof should not be made, and the captors’ dividend be remitted to them as soon as possible. It will give them spirit, and encourage them to be alert in looking out for other prizes.
Several officers belonging to the regiments raised in these middle colonies inform me, that their men, (notwithstanding their agreement,) begin to murmur at the distinction of pay made between them and the regiments from the eastward. I should be glad that the Congress would attend to this in time, lest it may get to such a pitch as will make it difficult to suppress. They argue that they perform the same duty, undergo the same fatigue, and receive five dollars, when the eastern regiments receive six dollars and two thirds per month.1 For my own part, I wish they were all upon the same footing; for, if the British army will not face this way, it will be necessary to detach a great part of our troops. In that case, I should, for many reasons, be sorry there should be any distinctions of regiments, that are all in pay of the United Colonies. The deficiency of arms (in the New York regiments especially) is very great. If I am rightly informed there are scarce as many in Colonel Ritzema’s regiment as will arm one company. Can the Congress remedy this evil? If they can, there should not be lost a moment in effecting it, as our strength at present is, in reality on paper only. Should we think of discharging those men who are without arms, the remedy would be worse than the disease, for by vigorous exertions I hope arms may be procured, and I well know that the raising men is extremely difficult, especially to be engaged during the continuance of the war, which is the footing on which Col. Ritzema’s regiment is engaged.
April 26th.—I had wrote thus far before I was honored with your favor of the 23d instant. In obedience to the order therein contained, I have directed six regiments more for Canada, which will embark as soon as vessels and other necessaries can be provided.1 These regiments will be commanded by General Sullivan. I shall give him instructions to join the forces in that country under General Thomas as soon as possible. With respect to sending more troops to that country, I am really at a loss what to advise, as it is impossible at present to know the designs of the enemy.1 Should they send the whole force under General Howe up the river St. Lawrence, to relieve Quebec and recover Canada, the troops gone and now going will be insufficient to stop their progress; and should they think proper to send that or an equal force this way from Great Britain, for the purpose of possessing this city and securing the navigation of Hudson’s River, the troops left here will not be sufficient to oppose them; and yet, for any thing we know, I think it not improbable they may attempt both; both being of the greatest importance to them, if they have men.
I could wish, indeed, that the army in Canada should be more powerfully reinforced; at the same time I am conscious, that the trusting of this important post, (which is now become the grand magazine of America,) to the handful of men remaining here is running too great a risk. The securing of this post and Hudson’s River is to us also of so great importance, that I cannot at present advise the sending any more troops from hence; on the contrary, the general officers now here, whom I thought it my duty to consult, think it absolutely necessary to increase the army at this place with at least ten thousand men, especially when it is considered, that, from this place only, the army in Canada must draw its supplies of ammunition, provisions, and, most probably, of men; and that all reinforcements can be sent from hence much easier than from any other place. By the enclosed return, you will see the state of the army here, and that the number of effective men is far short of what the Congress must have expected.1
I have found it necessary to order Colonel Dayton’s regiment from New Jersey to march as one of the six to Canada; wherefore I must reccommend it to Congress to order two companies of one of the regiments still in Pennsylvania to march to Cape May, which can be done much sooner2 ; for, had this destination of that regiment not taken place, it would have been very inconvenient to detach two companies from it to that place, as the march would, (according to Lord Stirling’s and other accounts,) have been at least two hundred miles from Amboy, and they must have passed within twenty miles of Philadelphia, there being no practicable road along the seacoast of New Jersey for their baggage to have passed. Doctor Potts who is bearer hereof, was, I understand, appointed director of the hospital for the Middle Colonies, but the army being removed with the general hospital from the eastward, does in course supercede him. He is inclined to go to Canada, where he may be very useful, if a person is not already appointed for that department. I would humbly beg leave to ask the Congress, whether in all these appointments it would not be best to have but one chief, to whom all the others should be subordinate.1
[1 ]Congress had directed that if any of the troops of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, raised at five dollars a month, should be sent to Canada, their pay should be six and two thirds dollars a month, from the time they begin their march. Journals of Congress, 23 April, 1776.
[1 ]Journals of Congress, 23 April, 1776.
[1 ]Congress had requested the opinion of General Washington, whether it was necessary to send more troops to Canada, and whether he could with safety spare them from the army at New York.
[1 ]By the adjutant-general’s return on the 28th of April, the number of troops present and fit for duty under General Washington’s command was 8,101. Including those who were sick, absent on furlough, and oncomm and, the whole army at New York amounted to 10,235.
[2 ]On April 17th, Congress had ordered two companies of Colonel Dayton’s regiment to proceed to Cape May and remain there till further orders.
[1 ]Read in Congress, April 29th. Referred to Harrison, Rutledge, Goldsborough, Paine, and Rodney.