Journals of the Continental Congress

First Continental Congress: October 10, 1774

October 10, 1774

Congress passes three resolutions in support of the rights of the people of Boston “which God, nature, and compact, have given to America.”  John Adams comments on the delegates and the proceedings.  George Washington writes that to think that Massachusetts is “setting up for independency & what not” is absurd.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

1) “Resolved unanimously, that it is the opinion of this body, that the removal of the people of Boston into the country, would be not only extremely difficult in the execution, but so important in its consequences, as to require the utmost deliberation before it is adopted; but, in case the provincial meeting of that Colony should judge it absolutely necessary, it is the opinion of the Congress, that all America ought to contribute towards recompensing them for the injury they may thereby sustain.”

2) “Resolved, that the Congress recommend to the inhabitants of the colony of Massachusetts, to submit to a suspension of the administration of Justice, where it cannot be procured in a legal & peaceable manner, under the rules of their present charter, and the laws of the colony founded thereon.

3) “Resolved unanimously, that every person and persons whatsoever, who shall take, accept, or act under any commission or authority, in any wise derived from the act passed in the last session of parliament, changing the form of government, and violating the charter of the province of Massachusetts, ought to be held in detestation and abhorrence by all good men, and considered as the wicked tools of that despotism, which is preparing to destroy those rights, which God, nature, and compact, have given to America.”

John Adams’s Diary

The Deliberations of the Congress, are spun out to an immeasurable Length. There is so much Wit, Sense, Learning, Acuteness, Subtilty, Eloquence, &c. among fifty Gentlemen, each of whom has been habituated to lead and guide in his own Province, that an immensity of Time, is spent unnecessarily.

Johnson of Maryland has a clear and a cool Head, an extensive Knowledge of Trade, as well as Law. He is a deliberating Man, but not a shining orator–His Passions and Imagination don’t appear enough for an orator. His Reason and Penetration appear, but not his Rhetoric.  Galloway, Duane, and Johnson, are sensible and learned but cold Speakers. Lee, Henry, and Hooper [are] the orators. Paca is a deliberator too. Chase speaks warmly. Mifflin is a sprightly and spirited Speaker. John Rutledge don’t exceed in Learning or oratory, though he is a rapid Speaker. Young Edward Rutledge is young, and zealous –a little unsteady, and injudicious, but very unnatural and affected as a Speaker. Dyer and Sherman speak often and long, but very heavily and clumsily.

George Washington to Captain Robert McKenzie 

When you condemn the conduct of the Massachusetts People, you reason from effects, not causes; otherwise you would not wonder at a people who are every day receiving fresh proofs of a Systematic exertion of an arbitrary power, deeply planned to overturn the Laws & Constitution of their Country, & to violate the most essential & valuable rights of mankind, being irritated, & with difficulty restrained from acts of the greatest violence and intemperance. For my own part, I confess to you candidly, that I view things in a very different point of light to the one in which you seem to consider them.   To believe that the people of Massachusetts are rebellious, setting up for independency & what not; give me leave, my good friend, to tell you, that you are abused–grossly abused….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.