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, 30 April, 1776.
I mean, through you, to do myself the honor of laying before Congress a copy of an address transmitted to them some time ago by the Assembly of Rhode Island, which Governor Cooke favored me with in the month of January, at the same time requesting me to interest myself in procuring a body of forces on the Continental establishment, for the defence of that colony. I doubt not but the address and subject of it have had the attention and consideration of Congress before now. But if they have not decided upon the matter, I would beg leave to mention, that I have made inquiry into the situation and condition of the colony, and find it to be as stated in the address; and, with all deference to the opinion of Congress, conceive it highly necessary and expedient, that they should adopt some measures for relieving their distress, and granting the aid prayed for. The importance of it [Rhode Island] in the chain of union, its extensive seacoast, affording harbors for our shipping and vessels, at the same time exposing and subjecting the inhabitants to the ravages and depredations of our enemies, the zeal and attachment which it has shown, and which still actuate it towards the common cause, their incapacity to pay a sufficient number of men for its defence, should they be able to furnish them after so many engaged in other services; these, and many other reasons, which are too obvious to be mentioned, plead powerfully for the notice and attention of Congress, and seem to me to claim their support.
Having thus stated the matter to Congress, for their consideration, agreeable to my promise to Governor Cooke when I had the honor of seeing him on my way hither, I shall leave it with them, not doubting but they will duly weigh its importance, and give such assistance as they may think reasonable and just. What they chiefly wish for is, that the troops they have raised may be taken into Continental pay, and commanding officers to be appointed by Congress.1 I have the honor, &c.2
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
New York, 5 May, 1776.
I am honored with your favor of the 30 Ulto. and observe what Congress have done respecting the settlement of the pay masters accounts—This seems expedient as he is out of office and I am certain will be attended with but little, if any difficulty, nothing more being necessary thereto, than to compare the Warrants with his debits and the receipts he has given with his credits.3 I wish every other settlement as easy, and that a Committee was appointed to examine and audit the accounts on which the Warrants are founded, particularly those of the Quarter Master and Commissary Generals—they are long and of high amount, consisting of a variety of charges, and of course more intricate and will require time and an extraordinary degree of attention to adjust and liquidate in a proper manner.—Upon this subject I did myself the honor to write you a considerable time ago.1
Having had several complaints from the officers in the Eastern Regiments, who have been and are engaged in recruiting, about the expense attending it, and for which they have never been allowed any thing, tho the officers in their Governments have, as I am informed, I shall be glad to know whether the allowance of 10s. granted to the Officers for every man inlisted by the Resolve of Congress in—2 is general and Indiscriminate, or confined to the Middle districts: If general, must I have retrospect to the time of the Resolve, and pay for the Intermediate services, or only for future Inlistments?3
In a Letter I wrote Congress the 25th of December, I inclosed one I had received from Jacob Bayley, Esqr. about opening a Road from Newbury to Canada4 ; I received another on the 15 Ulto., and from his account of the intelligence of others I have no doubt of the practicability of the measure, and am well informed that the distance will be considerably shortened; in so much that our Troops going to Canada from any part of the New England Governments Eastward of Connecticut River, or returning from thence Home, will perform their march in five or Six days less than by going or returning any way now used. Add to this, that the Road may be carried to Missisque River, as it is said, from whence the water carriage to St. Johns is good, except forty odd miles or so far to the Northward as to keep clear of the Lakes altogether and which will afford an easy pass to and from Canada at all Seasons, the benefits resulting from this Route will be so great and Important that I have advanced Colo. Bayley Two Hundred and fifty pounds to begin with, and directed him to execute his plan. No doubt It will require a more considerable advance to accomplish it, but the whole will be soon sunk—The Expence saved by shortning Six days pay and provisions for the men returning to the Eastern Governments at the expiration of this Campaign, will be almost, if not more than equal to the charge of opening it; if not, as in all probability there will be often a necessity for detachments of our Troops from those Governments, to go and return, it will soon be repaid.1
By a letter from Genl. Schuyler of the 27 ulto. I find Genl. Thompson and his Brigade had arrived at Albany. Genl. Sullivan with the last except three or four companies of Colo. Wayne’s Regiment not yet come, is embarked and gone, and probably will be soon there. I am apprehensive from General Schuyler’s account, they will not proceed from thence with the expedition wished owing to a difficulty in getting Teams and provender for the Cattle necessary to carry their Baggage, and a scarcity of Batteaus for transporting so great a number, tho he is using the utmost Industry and diligence to procure ’em. Should they be retarded for any considerable time, it will be exceedingly unfortunate, as we are much weakened here by their going, and our Army in Canada not strengthened. I have sent with the last Brigade, Sixty Barrels of Powder and other Stores and Intrenching Tools, a supply being wanted; also the Chain for a Boom at the Narrows of Richlieu, and the three Boxes of money brought me by Mr. Hanson, and have wrote Genl. Schuyler to have the Boom fixed as soon as possible. The Commissary too has forwarded about Eight Hundred Barrels of pork and is in expectation of a further Quantity from Connecticut which will go on without stopping here.
As the Magazine from whence the Northern and Eastern Armies will occasionally receive supplies of powder, will probably be kept here, and our stock is low and inconsiderable being much reduced by the Sixty Barrells sent to Canada, I shall be glad to have a Quantity immediately forwarded. Our Stores should be great, for if the Enemy make an attack upon the Town or attempt to goe up the North River, the expenditure will be considerable. Money too is much wanted. The Regiments that are paid have only received to the first of April. By a letter from Genl. Ward, I find his Chest is just exhausted, the money left with him for the payment of the Five Regiments at Boston and Beverly, being almost expended by large drafts in favor of the Commissary and Quarter Master, and in fitting out the Armed Vessels. I would here ask a question, to wit, whether as Mr. Warren’s Commission is superseded by Mr. Palfrey’s appointment, it will not be necessary to fix upon some person to pay the Troops at those places, or are the payments to goe thro’ his Hands? He does not incline to do any thing in the affair without the direction of Congress.
I have inclosed you a Return of the last Brigade departed and also of the forces remaining here, and as it is a matter of much importance to know the whole of our strength from time to time, and to see it at one view for regulating our movements with propriety, I wish it were a direction from Congress to the Commanding Officers in the different Districts to make Monthly returns to the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, of the State of the Troops in their departments and also of the Military Stores. Such direction will probably make ’em more attentive than they otherwise would be—I could not get a Return of the army in Canada, all last year.1
I beg leave to lay before Congress a copy of the proceedings of a Court Martial upon Lieutent. Grover of the 2d Regiment, and of his defence, which I should not have troubled them with, had I not conceived, the Court’s sentence upon the facts stated in the proceedings, of a singular nature, the small fine imposed by no means adequate to the enormity of his offence, and to be of a dangerous and pernicious Tendency. For these reasons I thought it my duty to lay the proceedings before them in order to their forming such a Judgement upon the Facts, as they shall conceive right and Just, and advancive of the public good.1 At the same time I would mention that I think it of material consequence that Congress should make a Resolve taking away the supposed right of succession in the Military line from one Rank to another, which is claimed by many, upon the happening of Vacancies, and upon which principle this offence seems to have originated in a great measure and this ordinary Judgement to be founded; declaring that no succession or promotion can take place in case of vacancies, without a Continental commission giving and authorizing it. It is of much importance to check and entirely suppress this opinion and claim become too prevalent already, and which have an obvious tendency to introduce mutiny and disorder. Or if they conceive the claim good and that it should take place, that they will declare it so, that the point may be known and settled in future.2 I have &c.3
[1 ]Congress assented to this request, and resolved on the 11th of May, that the two battalions, directed to be raised by the Rhode Island Assembly, should be taken into Continental pay.
[2 ]Read May 2nd. Referred to the Committee on the Eastern Department.
[3 ]He was directed to hand in his vouchers and papers to the Superintendents of the Treasury.
[1 ]Congress referred him to its resolutions of 1 April, 1776, instituting treasury officers.
[2 ]Journals of Congress, 17 January, and 6 February, 1776.
[3 ]Congress decided that the resolution of 17 January, 1776, was general in its operation, and directed the General to make that allowance for all the troops inlisted since that date. Journals of Congress, 10 May, 1776.
[4 ]Vol. III., p. 297.
[1 ]Congress approved, and directed Washington to prosecute the plan. Journals, 10 May, 1776.
[1 ]Congress passed a resolution to this effect, 10 May, 1776.
[1 ]See note on p. 75.
[2 ]“Resolved, That this Congress has hitherto exercised, and ought to retain the power of promoting the officers in the continental service according to their merit; and that no promotion or succession shall take place upon any vacancy without the authority of a continental commission.” Journals, 16 May, 1776.
[3 ]Read May 7th. Referred to J. Adams, Braxton, and Duane.