John Hancock from Massachusetts believed he was the man for the job. He had done a bit of soldiering, and it was his money that was paying some of the Congress's bills. So when John Adams stood up to nominate a general, almost everyoneespecially John Hancockthought it would be Hancock. But John Adams knew that the delegates were suspicious of the Massachusetts people. And he always did what he thought was best for the nationnot what would make him popular at home. He said, "There is but one man in my mind for this important command. The gentleman I have in mind is from Virginia." When Adams said that, John Hancock's face fell, and Washington, who realized he was the man from Virginia, rushed from the room. Adams continued: "His skill as an officer, his great talents and universal character would command the respect of America and unite the Colonies better than any other person alive ."
George Washington was unanimously elected commander-in-chief of the new Continental army. He accepted , on one condition: He would take no salary. And that was part of Washington's greatness. He was willing to serve without pay for a cause he thought noble. But he also knew he had an almost impossible job. Before he left for Boston to take up his command, he spoke to Patrick Henry. "Remember, Mr. Henry, what I now tell you: From the day I enter upon the command of the American armies, I date ... the ruin of my reputation."