Philada May 29th 1781
A Committee of Congress having communicated to me the distress of Your Army for want of Bread and shewn me a Motion that had been made in Congress in Consequence thereof, but which was Committed in order to a Conference with me on the Subject. I found myself immediately impressed with the Strongest desire to afford you Relief and also to avoid such measures as are proposd in the said motion, such being calculated like too many others that have been adopted to procure immediate relief, at the same time Sowing the seeds that never fail to produce plentifull Crops of future distresses and disapointments, Not being prepared in my official Character with Funds or means of accomplishing the supplies you need, I have wrote to Major Genl Schuyler and to Thomas Lowrey Esqr. in New Jersey requesting their immediate Exertions to procure upon their own Credit 1000 bbls of flour each and to send the same forward in parcells as fast as procured to Camps delivered to your Excellincys order and I have pledged my self to pay them in hard Money for the Cost & charges within a Month Six Weeks or two Months, I shall make it a point to provide the Money being determined never to make an engagement that cannot be fullfilled for if by any reasons I shou’d fail in this respect I will quit my Office as useless from that Moment. I hope therefore the letters written will produce the flour very soon at Camp and I rather chose to direct the delivery of it to Your Excellancys order than to send it into the hands of the Commissaries because there are many assertions made (whether with Truth or not I do not pretend to decide at this time) that Provisions are not delivered out with that Oeconomy which circumstances like ours require, and if you have any reason to suppose there is foundation for such reports, perhaps it wou’d be time well spent to appoint an Officer to attend the receipt and delivery of this flour. I desired the Gentn to have the weights marked on the head of every barrell in order that proper Account might easily be taken thereof at Camp, and if the Superintendg Officer attends to this, to the quantity of Rations that of right shou’d be delivered daily, sees that no more are given out, he will finally be able to ascertain the whole Account and shew what the consumption is or ought to be, shou’d you think this matter worthy of your attention it is probable that such a mode of Issuing under proper checks may now be devised and experimented as will lay the ground Work for future regulation all which I only offer as hints which you will make use of or not, as your own situation and circumstances will permit, but this is certain, we must introduce the Stricktest Oeconomy into the Issuing departments or the Army will for ever be exposed to wants which are not less disgracefull than painfull. I sent the letters by Mr Govr Morris who promised to call at Mr Lowrys House to enforce the execution of business there, & to send the Letter for Genl Schuyler to your Excy that it might be forwarded by Express. I have the honour to be Dr Sir Your Excellys most Obedt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.