George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Robert Morris, 5 August 1782

Office of Finance 5 Augst 1782

Dear Sir,

I received your Letter of the thirtieth of July late in the Evening of Friday the second Instant. The Ideas which in Conversation with you I endeavoured to impress were, that I should at all Events fulfil my Part of the Contracts entered into for feeding your Army, That I had constantly attended to the claims of the Contractors. That I should continue to do so, and that I beleived I had in many Instances been in Advance to them. On Saturday Morning I desired the comptroller to make out a State of these Accounts, which State I have received this Morning, and now enclose—Copies. Your Excellency will perceive from the State Number One, of the Accounts of the Contractors for West Point, that I have for a Considerable Part of the Time been Considerably in Advance to them, instead of their being one Month in advance to me. Besides which it is to be observed, that the Amount stated for Provisions, they received out of the public Stores is entirely as they themselves have Stated it, and that the Accounts not being as yet settled I ought not to have paid perhaps so much as I have done, because certainly there is no Way to secure the public Interest, but by with holding Money until Accounts be adjusted. And this Sir leads me to an Observation, which applies fully to the whole of this Business. When I contracted to pay monthly it was well understood, that I should pay what appeared to be due for the preceding Month. Now until the Account be settled at the Treasury, there is in Fact nothing due which I can take Notice of as such. Supposing the Accounts & Vouchers to be all kept and delivered with that Accuracy and Simplicity which they ought, it is probable that they would get settled in the Course of a Week. Supposing then the greatest Dispatch which can reasonably be expected in transmitting & settling the Accts paying and remitting the Money, &ca the Contractors could not have expected any thing else than to have been two Months in Advance. And if they do not keep and transmit their Accounts and Vouchers with due Regularity they ought to have expected a Still longer Detention, especially if I were disposed to comply only with the Letter of my agreements, But tho’ I neither have done, nor will do any Thing, which could be construed into taking an undue advantage, I think myself not only justifiable, but I think and will contend, that it is my duty to take Care, that there be always such an arrearage, as will make the Public perfectly Safe. I do not examine Accounts, and therefore if I would take the meer assertion of any Man, or Set of Men, the Consequences might be most pernicious. With Respect to the Contractors for the Moving Army whose account is contained in the Enclosure number two, I confess that I was deficient, one Hundred Dollars, in the Payments for April & May, but when it is recollected, that the Advances stipulated for were under the Ideas then entertained, that the whole Army would take the Field on the first day of may, and expend (at the rate of only eighteen Thousand Rations per Day) sixty Thousand Dollars Monthly, and when it is further recollected, that nothing like this has happened, it will then appear, that I have more than complied with what they had any Right to expect, and that if they had prepared as they ought to have done, Funds equal to the Supply of between two and three Months Pay, nay, if they had prepared Funds equal to the expected Supply of only one Month, they have never yet been in a Situation when the Deficiences of the Public (had the Public been defective) could have injured the Army. And now Sir, if you examine the Account number two, you will see, that they have received quite as much, as they had any Right to expect previous to a Settlement of their Accounts, And indeed you will see by the enclosed note from Mr Swanwick, that they have received even more than is Stated in that account. But as these Various contractors have as I am informed lately joined Stocks & Contracts, I have made a Short State in the Paper Number three, of the Issues according to their Accounts, and of the Payments made from which it will appear, that there are not four thousand Dollars due for the Month of June and that if a Credit is given for Provisions, purchased of the State of Connecticut, the Public are at least four thousand Dollars in Advance. They say that there are forty thousand Dollars due for the Issues in July, but the Accounts are not yet even presented, notwithstanding which, I shall pay them a considerable Sum this Week.

I should not however do Justice, were I not to Observe that the Contractors for West Point have made considerable Advances for the Purpose of Cloathing the Officers, which Cloathing they were paid for in Notes of the Pay Master General due on the first of August—I owe them yet on those Notes between nineteen and twenty thousand Dollars—If I had asked Indulgence in the Situation to which the Demand for those Notes, and the Delays of the States had reduced me, I might, I think, have expected it, but I have asked none, & I am thoroughly perswaded, that the Contractors were intimidated by the Apprehension, that those Notes would break me, and thereby prevented from applying as they ought to have done, their own Money and Credit—I do myself the Honor to enclose Sir, the Copy of a Letter to me from the Comptroller, to which I will pray that your Excellency will enable me to make the proper Answer. With sincere Friendship & Esteem I am my Dear Sir Your most obedient & humble Servant

Robt Morris

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Enclosure

Comptroller’s Office August 1st 1782

Sir

The Contractors for victualing the moving Army, as also those for victualing the Garrison of West Point and its Dependencies, have rendered their Accounts for the Months of May and June. They inform me that the Contract of Francis & Slough for supplying the Posts in New Jersey, having with your Consent been dissolved on the first of May, these Posts have been since that Time, supplied by the Contractors for the moving Army, but besides this, I find the last mentioned Contractors charge for supplying the Posts of Peekskill and the Connecticut Hutts on the North River, which were before reckoned a Part of the Dependencies of West Point, and victualed under that Contract at half a Ninetieth part of a Dollar per Ration, less than is allowed to the Contractors for the moving Army. As this Difference of Price will amount to something considerable on the whole, and as the West Point Contract still subsists, I conceive it to be necessary that I should be informed by what Authority or Agreement the Alteration took place; If it has been done by the Orders of his Excellency the Commander in chief, I request that I may be furnished with an Official Copy of such Orders, that the Officers of the Treasury may be justified in admitting the Charge. The Contractors for West Point give credit in these Accounts for a quantity of provisions received of Colo. Charles Stewart, the late Commissary General of Issues to which they have affixed certain Prices, but as there are no Kind of Vouchers whatever to ascertain either the Quantities received, or the Prices Stipulated (excepting the word of the Contractors which we are not authorized to admit as sufficient Evidence on such Occasions) I am doubtful whether a final Settlement can be made until the necessary Documents are obtained.

I mention these Matters to you that if you think proper you may give such Directions as will tend to Remove the Difficulties. I am with the greatest Respect Sir your most obedient humble Servt

James Milligan

Enclosure

3 August 1782

Issues for the moving Army and West Point according to the Accounts from the Treasury but as many of these are not yet settled it is to be presumed that if there be Errors, they are in Favor of the Public.

1782
West Point. January 28. 448. 53 /90
February 25. 549. 46
March 23. 776. 15
April 23. 535. 63
May 16. 677. 62
June 17. 182. 8
135. 169. 67
deduct for defective Vouchers
in Accts of Jany & Feby 1. 003. 62 134. 166. 5/90
Moving Army— May 21. 901. 63 /90
June 23. 960. 7 /90 45. 861. 70/90
180. 027. 75
Paid Contractors for West
Point at sundry Times 131. 118. 23
Paid Contractors for
Moving Army 45. 088. 30 176. 206. 53
Due to the Contractors 3. 821. 22

They have received from the State of Connecticut for Acct of the Public 800 Bbls Provisions which may be estimd at 15 Dlls. per Bbl.—but say only 10 Dlls., this will make the Public in Advance above 4.000 Dolls.—There is due to the Contractors for their Issues in July they say 40.000 Dolls. but their Accounts are not yet come down.


3 August 1782

Messrs Tench Francis, Comfort Sands & Co. Thomas Lowry, Oliver Phelps, Timothy Edwards, & Walter Livingston—Contractors for supplying the moving Army, their Account Current, on Contract Commencing the 1st May 1782 with the United States.

Extract from the Contract dated the 6th April 1782. The said Superintendant of Finance agrees to pay out of the Monies of the United States to the said Contractors on the twentieth Instant, Six[teen] Thousand Dollars and on the fifteenth day of may next fourteen thousand dollars which said Sums are to be deducted out of the Rations Issued in the Month of May, and the Balance due for Rations Issued in that Month shall be paid the first day of June next, and what may after become due for Rations issued by Virtue of this Agreement in Regular Monthly Payments to the first day of January next.

Dr.
1782 Dollars 90th Dollars 90th
April 22 To Treasurer for a Warrt of
this date in their Favor 16000
May 16th To Jno. Swanwick for their
Order drawn the 8th of May
in favor of John Wilson 5000
" To ditto for their Order drawn the
4th Inst. in favor of Jno. Wilson 2000
29th To Treasurer for a Warrt of
this date in their favor 6900 29900
Their receipts of Money exceeded their
Issues of Provisions for the
Month of May 7998. 27
June 12th To Jno. Swanwick for a Warrt
this day their favor 1000
" " To ditto for their order in favor
of Levi Hollingsworth 236
14th To Treasurer for Warrt of this date
in favor of Capn Thomas Kenney 752. 30
Their Issues of Provisions exceeded
the monies received by them
for the mo: of June 13973. 40. 4 23960 7.4
July 4th To Treasurer for a Warrt drawn
3d inst. in their favor 1000
18 To Ditto for Do drawn this day do 5000
27 To ditto for do drawn the 25th do 700
August 2 To ditto for do drawn this day do 5000
(July 1) Their Issues of Provisions
(should their Accounts on Examination
prove to be right) exceed the
Amt paid to them the sum of 2273. 40
Dollars 13973. 40
Cr. Dollars 90th Dollars 90th
By their own Account of Issues in the
Mo. of May presented at the Treasury
the 4th July and not yet liquidated 21901. 63
Their Receipts of Monies exceeded their
Issues of Provisions by their own Accts 7998. 27 29900
By their own Account of Issues in the
Month of June presented at the Treasury
the 4th July and not yet Liquidated 23960 7.4
23960 7.4
Their Issues of Provisions exceeded
their Receipts of Monies in the Mo.
of June as above 13973. 40.4

The several Sums drawn in favor of the Contractors for supplying the Moving Army as above enumerated agree with the several debits to their account in the Treasury Books. Their Accts for Issues in the Month of May & for the Month of June have not been yet liquidated at the Treasury. The Above Account is therefore subject to alteration.

Joseph Nourse Register

Registers office the 3d Augst 1782


3 August 1782

Messrs Comfort Sands & Co. Contractors for West Point and its Dependencies, their account current with the United States.

Note. By the Contract, the Superintendant of Finance was bound to advance 2666 60/90 Dollars to the Contractors immediately on signing the Contract, which Sum Payment was to be deducted out of the Supplies for the Month of January—they were to be paid in regular monthly Payments till the 1st September, after which the first succeeding payment to be made on the 1st November for the preceeding Months of September and October—and the last payment being for November and December to be made on the 1st January 1783.

Dr.
1781 December 6 To Treasurer for a Warrant in
their favor of this Date 2666. 60
20 Amount of Provisions and Stores received
by them as appears by their Account 27847. 61
28 Treasurer for a Warrant in their
favor of this Date 1000.
1782 Jany John Swanwick Do Do 2000.
28 Treasurer Do Do 10000.
30 John Swanwick Do Do 3333. 30
46847. 61
Their receipts of Money and Provisions
exceed the Amount of their Issues
in the Month of January 7626. 7
Feby 1 To William Duer for sundry Articles of
provisions delivered by him for which they are
charged in the Treasury Books on the
Settlement of said Duer’s account 1214. 78
14 To Treasurer for a Warrant in
their favor of this Date 1333. 30
27 To Do Do Do 6600.
28 To Comfort Sands & Co. their a/c defective Vouchers for
the amount thereof on the Settlement of their a/c of
Issues in the Treasury Books for the Months
of January and February 1003. 62
Their receipt of money provisions &c exceeded the amount 27778. 7
of their Issues in the month of February 2228. 51
March 4 To Treasurer for a warrant in their
favor of this Date 13000.
12th Do Do Do 3000.
19th Do Do Do 2000.
21st Do Do Do 4000.
26th Do Do Do 5000.
31 March, the provisions received not being at that
time credited (8 May) for a balance due them 1622. 34
30850. 85
Their rects of Monies and provisions exceed
the Amount of their Issues in the Month of March 7074. 70
April 2 To Treasurer for a Warrant in
their Favor of this Date 5000.
8th Do Do Do 5000.
12th Do Do Do 5000.
17th Do Do Do 5000.
27074. 70
Their Receipts of Monies and provisions exceeded their
Account of Issues for the Month of April 3539. 7
May 14 To Treasurer for a warrant in
their favor of this Date 4000.
21 " John Swanwick Do Do 500.
Their own Account of Issues in the Month of
May exceeds the Monies received by them 8638. 55
16677. 62
1782 June 4 To Treasurer for a warrant in their
favor of this Date 4000.
11 Do Do Do 10000.
Their account of Issues in this Month exceed
the monies received by them 11820. 63
25820. 63
July 5 To Treasurer for a warrant in their
favor of this Date 4000.
12 Do Do Do 4000.
Should their account of Issues in the month of April and
those for the Months of May and June prove, on examination
to be correct, the ballance to the 30 June will be 3820. 63
11820. 63
Cr.
1782 Jany 31 By amount of their Issues this
Month including Hospital Stores presented
at the Treasury 19th Februay 28440. 53
1781 Decem. 10 & 20 Amount of Stores and Payments made
by them for which they Debit the United States in their
Account of provisions received being public property 772. 81
29221. 44
Their receipt of money and provisions exceeded the
amount of their Issues 17626. 17
46847. 61
1782 Feby 28 By amount of their Issues this month
including Hospl Stores presented
at the Treasury 15th March 25549. 46
Their receipt of money, provisions &c. exceeded
the amount of their Issues 2228. 51
27778. 7
March 31 By amount of their Issues this month including
Hospl Stores presented at the Treasury 19th April 23776. 15
Their receipt of money and provisions exceeded the
amount of their Issues 7074. 70
30850. 85
April 30 By amount of their own account of Issues for
this month presented 17th May not yet liquidated at
the Treasury including Hospital Stores 23535. 63
Their receipt of Money and provisions exceeded the
amount of their Issues 3539. 7
27074. 70
May 31 By amount of their own account of Issues in
the month of May presented at the Treasury 4th July,
not yet liquidated there, including Hospital Stores 16677. 62
Their Issues of Provisions in the month of May exceeded
the Receipts of money as on the other side 8638. 55
June 30 By amount of their own account of Issues in
this Month presented at the Treasury 4th July not
yet liquidated there, including Hospl Stores 17182. 8
25820. 63
Their Issues of provisions in the Month of June exceeds
the acct of Money as above 11820. 63

Messrs Sands & Co. are charged in the Treasury Books with the Monies as herein Stated by Warrants of the Honble Superintendant of Finance on the Treasurer, or Mr John Swanwick. They are credited in the said Books for their Issues in the Months of January, February and March. The Amount charged to them the 20th December 1781 in this State for Provisions received by them (being public property) and their Issues to the Troops in the Months of April, May and June, are taken from their Accounts lately rendered, and now under examination by the Clerks of the Treasury; and subject to Alteration, from Errors [or] otherwise, as may be discovered.

Register’s Office

Joseph Nourse Regr

3d August 1782

Enclosure

6 August 1782

These are to Certify whom it may Concern that on the 25th day of July 1782, I delivered to Thos Lowry Esqr. on behalf of the Contractor for the Moving Army a draft on myself for fifteen hundred Dollars Specie for which the Said Lowry was paid by W.C. Houston Esqr. Receiver of Continental Taxes for the State of New Jersey. Witness my hand Augt 6th 1782

J. Swanwick

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