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164699.  Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:57 am Reply with quote

Question: What did congress spend $4.25 million on during the American War of Independence?

Answer: George Washington’s expenses

Washington was magnanimous enough to lead the Revolutionary Forces against Great Britain for free, he said:

Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have accepted this arduous employment, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire.

So all he got was expenses – however over eight years that came to nearly $500,000 – well over $4 million in todays money.

For example:
To cash paid for Sadlery, a Letter Case, Maps, Glasses, &c &c &c. for the use of my Command... $831.45

To sundry Exp.'s paid by myself at different times and places... on the Retreat of the Army thro' the Jerseys into Pennsylvania & while there... $3,776.

He also gave loans to his friends that were never repaid, he bought limes by the crateload (400 at one point), and he treated himself to every "sundry" good available. From July 21-22 1775, he bought a pig, an unreadable number of ducks, "1 dozen pigeons, veal, 1 dozen squash, 2 dozen eggs, hurtleberries, biscuit and a cork cask."

From September 1775 to March 1776, Washington spent over six thousand dollars on booze

Once President, Washington made the same offer to exchange a salary for an expense account. He was politely rebuffed and given a modest $25,000-a-year salary.


865898.  Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:31 pm Reply with quote

Was going to post about this, but it seems I've been beaten to it.

To add some other details:

He once claimed $20,800 and wrote "the accounts were not only irregularly kept, but many of them were lost or mislaid, & some of them so defaced as not to be legible, that it is impossible for me to make out a statement of them.", which basically means he didn't have receipts to show for this sum, he was simply claiming it.

Between the start of the war, till it's end 8 years later, Washington reportedly put on a little under 30 pounds, and many of his close circle were quite portly (Gen Henry Knox weighed in at 280 pounds).

Washington's fondness for wine, and for lavishing it on guests, caught up with him when he could no longer claim it on expenses. Marsha Washington would check carefully on the amount of wine served, and was once reported to have rebuked one of her servants for serving too much wine to their guests, claiming "We shall have very little wine for ourselves".


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