The delegates resumed their lengthy deliberation of the last two days concerning the content of the message to be sent to the King. Today, the delegates passed a more conciliatory Resolution, but the division between and within the colonies are evident. Silas Deane in his Diary records briefly the remarks of at least 15 delegates on the content and tone of the message.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
“Resolved, That the committee appointed to prepare an address to his majesty, be instructed to assure his majesty, that in case the colonies shall be restored to the state they were in, at the close of the late war, by abolishing the system of laws and regulations–for raising a revenue in America–for extending the powers of courts of Admiralty–for the trial of persons beyond the sea for crimes committed in America–for affecting the colony of the Massachusetts bay–and for altering the government, and extending the limits of Canada, the jealousies, which have been occasioned by such acts and regulations of parliament, will be removed and commerce again restored.”
Silas Deane’s Diary
And the Motion of Yesterday taken up, Mr. Read in favor of the Motion that some declaration ought to be made in the pacific Way.
That the Regulations, of Trade, for the present ought to be passed over. It is better for the present to Temporize.
Col. Dyer, for altering the Motion–but appears very confused.
Maj. Sullivan, that the Motion is not sufficiently explicit but that We ought to Speak out. Proposes an amendment. Mr. Lynch against the whole Clause, as 1763 will leave some of the worst Acts in force….
Mr. Adams jun. for the Motion. Says it does not imply, that We are to submit to all preceeding Acts–but that We shall by such repeal be in the State We were in in 1763 as to harmony.
Mr. Low complains, that the Motion is not sufficiently explicit, that We ought to speak out, complains of being misapprehended, &, of being in a suspicious point of Light.
Col. Lee answers, and is at large for the Motion.
Col. Dyer again, (quite on one side of the Question) .
Mr. Adams senr. for the Amendment in part but proposes another.
Mr. Cushing strangely against it.
Mr. Lynch for it.
Mr. Jay, for the last amendment to appearance at first, but finally means to confound everything. Mr. Henry answers him and is severe on Mr. Jay.
Mr. Rutledge senr. against the Whole of the Motion, & thinks it ought to be totally rejected as Admiralty Courts were extended before the Year 1763, which are the most enormous of any Whatever, and that he will never be easy while that extension remains as it in effect is destroying all privileges in the destruction of Trial by Juries.
Mr. Henry & Mr. Rutledge dispute about the meaning of an Act of Parliament.
Mr. Cushing in support of his Motion.
Mr. Mifflin in support of the same.
Mr. Jay Up against the Motion.
Mr. Sherman, Up on Acct. of taking up the Greivances at large, & dropping the Motion.
Mr. Read explains himself as to some Expressions in his Speech.
Mr. Johnson, lengthy & in favor of the Motion.
Col. Lee makes a New Motion for an Amendment in the Instructions to the Committee–reads it and it is seconded.
Mr. Payne, rather against the Motion, that We should be more explicit.
Mr. Low joins him.
Mr. Cushing, rather severe on the subject against New York.
Mr. Low answers him.
Mr. Adams, senr. replies.
Question called for. Mr. Jay rises to make Observations, and To Slip it by, asserting that the Amendment. was just the same as the Motion. Col. Lee very severe & lengthy in his Reply.
Mr. Rutledge jr., makes a New Motion and gets it seconded by Mr. Jay.
Mr. Chace, prefers the first amendment–but is for forming Resolutions against all Acts of Parliament, & then to propose modes of Opposition .
Mr. Biddle, against being confined to the Year 1763.
Mr. Duane against including the Canada Bill in the Petition to the King.
Col. Lee answers him respecting the Canada Bill.
Mr. Lynch, in answer to Mr. Chace. The Question put the Amendment Carried 6. to 5. Colonies. Pennsylvania divided & was not counted. Colonies Stood thus: N. Hampshire for New York No Phila: divide Massachusetts for New Jersey No Rhode Island do. 3 Counties No Connecticut do. Maryland No Virginia do. S. Carolina No.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.