Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
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To THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE Cambridge, January 10, 1776.

    Gentn: In the confused and disordered state of this Army, occasioned by such Capital changes, as have taken place of late, I have found it almost impossible to come at exact returns of the strength of our lines. -- Not till last night, was I able to get in the whole since the dissolution of the old Army; by these I find myself weaker than I had any Idea of, and under the necessity of requesting an exertion of your Influence and Interest, to prevail upon the Militia of this Government, now in the pay of the Continent, to continue till the last of the Month and longer if requisite. I am assured, that those of New Hampshire will not stay any longer than they engaged for; notwithstanding our weak state and the slow progress we make in recruiting, which, by the last week's report, amounts to but little more than half our usual compliment, owing, it is said, to the number of men going or expecting to go into the provincial Service, at or near their own homes.

    I am more and more Covinced, that we shall never raise the Army to the New Establishment by Voluntary Inlistments; It is therefore necessary that this and the neighbouring Governments should consider in time and adopt some other expedient for effecting it.


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    The Hurry I was in the other day, when your Committee did me the honor to present a petition from a person (whose name I have forgot) wanting to be employ'd in the Continental Army, prevented me from being as full on the subject as I wished.

    I shall beg leave therefore, at this time to add, that I hope your Honorable Board will do me the justice to believe, that it will give me pleasure, at all times, to pay a proper respect to any recommendation coming from them, and that the reason why I do not now Encourage such kind of applications as was made, is, That the New Army was arranged, as near the plan and agreeable to the orders of Congress, (altho' some unavoidable departures and changes have taken place) as it was in my power to comply with; and the officers thus constituted ordered to recruit. Every attempt therefore of others, not of this appointment, must counteract and has been of infinite prejudice to the Service. They infuse Ideas into the minds of the Men, they have any influence over, that my engaging with them, or which is tantamount, not engaging with others, they shall be able to force themselves into the Service; of this we have numberless Instances; I am therefore Anxious to discourage every attempt of the kind, by Convincing such persons, that their engaging a Company will not bring them in. If such persons could be once convinced of this, the business of the Army would go on more smoothly and with much more regularity and order. In short Gentlemen, It is scarce possible for me to convey to you, a perfect Idea of the Trouble and vexation I have met with, in getting this matter fixed upon some setled footing. One day an officer would serve, another he would not, and so on, that I have hardly known what steps to pursue, for preserving consistency and advancing the good of the Service,


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which are the only Objects I have in view; I have no friend I want to bring in, nor any person with whom I am the least connected, that I wish to promote. I am Gentlemen, etc.