Office of Finance April 15th 1782
After a good deal of Trouble the Contract for the moving Army has been Compleated and the Issues under it are to Commence the first day of May next. The Gentlemen concerned in it were so long in agreeing on several points regarding each other, that at last they grew too Impatient to allow the Secretary at War Time sufficient to have the Contract drawn with that precision and Clearness which he intended, it will however be easily understood, and herewith I enclose a Copy for your Excellencys use and Information.
You will perceive that I am to appoint a person who is to decide on all disputes and Complaints that may arise on the Contract which differs from the Mode prescribed in the others. This alteration was made in Consequence of some of those Complaints and Observations which were forwarded by General Heath and I shall in due Time make the appointment. The Person so to be appointed must be perfectly Free and Independent of all Connection with the Army, or with the Contractors, so that his decisions may be truly Impartial; and I hope to find such a Person as will save your Excellency from all Trouble or Complaint on this Subject which I know must be very disagreeable and distressing to you.
The present Contractors are all Men of respectable Characters, and Combine such an Interest and Influence in the several States from whence the supplies are to be extracted, as will I believe enable them to fulfill their Contract to the Satisfaction of the Army, and so long as they do their part with Integrity, I am sure they will meet with your protection. I shall make it a point to do mine by them therefore they shall have no Excuse on that Score. It will however be a troublesome and hazardous Business, it is an absolutely necessary one, and if the officers of the Army wish to receive regular pay, they ought to Support and second all Systems which have public Oeconomy for their Object, as it is by that means, and by such means only, that America can be enabled to pay them as they ought to be paid, and which it is and shall be my constant Study to accomplish. With the greatest Respect and Esteem I have the honor to be Your Excellency’s most Obedient & most humble Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.