Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Politicians' families on the payroll

With the big kerfuffle about members of Tom DeLay's family being on the payroll, and the subsequent (and unsurprising) revelation that many of our Congressmen use the public chest to pay their families for services rendered, I offer this little quotation about George Washington's time as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and the value he placed on his wife's morale building activities:

While Washington never condoned compensation for his own services to the Continental Army, he regarded his wife's ministrations so significant that he requested payment for her trips, scrupulously documenting each charge, which would eventually total $27,665.30. When his officers once serenaded him at camp, he begged that he had retired for the night but dispatched Mrs. Washington, who good-naturedly heard them out and, in the general's name, bestowed a fifteen-shilling tip, duly recorded as an "expense."
From Anne L. Macdonald's No Idle Hands : The Social History of American Knitting (Ballentine Books, 1988), pp. 37-38.