Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: September 15, 1775

September 15, 1775

Congress resolves an issue involving Georgia and the Non-Importation Act, Silas Deane writes about the absence of commercial navigation on the Delaware River, and John Adams reflects: “Upon recollecting the Debates of this Day in Congress, there appears to me a remarkable Want of Judgment in some of our Members.” For example, “Sherman’s Air is the Reverse of Grace…. Mr. Dickinson’s Air, Gate, and Action are not much more elegant.” 

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That Doctor Thomas Walker be appointed a Commissioner for Indian Affairs in the middle department as a replacement for Patrick Henry.

The Delegates from Georgia informed the Congress, that when the convention of that Colony agreed to enter into the general association, they resolved, among other things, “that if any vessels arrived from Gr Britain, between the sixth of July and the sixth of August, the goods imported should be stored and there remain until the Congress determined what should [be] done with them.”–That during that time two vessels had arrived with goods, which were accordingly stored; they therefore desired the determination of the Congress on that matter.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the convention of Georgia that the cargoes either be sent back or sold at public auction; that out of the monies arising from such sales, the proprietors or shippers, be paid the prime cost of the said cargoes, and all charges attending the same, and the overplus be retained by the said convention, and by them be applied towards putting their province into a posture of defense.

Adjourned till 9 o’Clock tomorrow.

Silas Deane to Elizabeth Deane

The Congress have hardly begun Business, New Hampshire, & N. Carolina being absent. This City is still busy in military parade, & preparation It is well they are for something is Necessary to keep them employed, and to divert their Attention from the Melancholy appearance of their River destitute of Navigation. No less than Sixty Sail left this place, on the day the Nonexportation took place, & None have arrived since except one Ship from London.
[Editor’s Note. The New Hampshire delegates arrived today and John Penn from North Carolina arrived on October 12. Robert Treat Paine, from Massachusetts, took his seat]

John Adams’s Diary

Archibald Bullock and John Houstoun Esquires, and the Revd. Dr. Zubly, appear as Delegates from Georgia….

Thomas Nelson Esquire, George Wythe and Francis Lightfoot Lee appeared as Delegates from Virginia.
Nelson is a fat Man, like the late Colonel Lee of Marblehead. He is a Speaker, and alert and lively, for his Weight.
Wythe is a Lawyer, it is said of the first Eminence.
Lee is a Brother of Dr. Arthur, the late Sheriff of London, and our old Friend Richard Henry, sensible, and patriotic, as the rest of the Family….

Upon recollecting the Debates of this Day in Congress, there appears to me a remarkable Want of Judgment in some of our Members. Chase is violent and boisterous, asking his Pardon. He is tedious upon frivolous Points. So is E. Rutledge. Much precious Time is indiscreetly expended. Points of little Consequence are started, and debated [with] warmth. Rutledge is a very uncouth, and ungraceful Speaker. He shrugs his Shoulders, distorts his Body, nods and wriggles with his Head, and looks about with his Eyes, from side to side, and Speaks through his Nose, as the Yankees Sing. His Brother John dodges his Head too, rather disagreeably, and both of them Spout out their Language in a rough and rapid Torrent, but without much Force or Effect.
Dyer is long winded and roundabout-obscure and cloudy. Very talkative and very tedious, yet an honest, worthy Man, means and judges well.
Sherman’s Air is the Reverse of Grace. There cannot be a more striking Contrast to beautiful Action, than the Motions of his Hands. Generally, he stands upright with his Hands before him. The fingers of his left Hand clenched into a Fist, and the Wrist of it, grasped with his right. But he has a clear Head and sound Judgment. But when he moves a Hand, in anything like Action, Hogarth’s Genius could not have invented a Motion more opposite to grace. It is Stiffness, and Awkwardness itself. Rigid as Starched Linen or Buckram. Awkward as a junior Bachelor, or a Sophomore.
Mr. Dickinson’s Air, Gate, and Action are not much more elegant.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.