Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: April 13, 1776

April 13, 1776

The Committee Report on the Consumption of Teas now in the Colonies is presented. William Whipple hopes that Josiah Bartlett will arrive soon.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That an order be drawn on the treasurers in favor of James Mease, commissary, for the use of the Pennsylvania battalions, and his questions be referred to the Committee for procuring fire arms.

The Committee of Claims reported that there is a claim due.

Ordered, That the claim be paid.

A petition from the committees of the townships of Wallpack, Sandystone, and Montague, in the county of Sussex, in New Jersey, was referred to the Commissioners for Indian affairs, who are members of Congress.

The committee appointed to prepare a resolution for the sale and consumption of the teas now in these colonies, brought in their report, which was read and agreed to.

Committee Report on the Consumption of Teas now in the Colonies

Whereas, by the third article of the association entered into by the late Continental Congress, at Philadelphia, on the 24th day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1774, it was agreed, that, from that day, the inhabitants of the United Colonies “would not purchase or use any tea imported on Account of the East India company, or any on which a duty had been or should be paid, and from and after the first day of March then next following, they would not purchase or use any East India tea whatever:”

And whereas, it has been represented to this Congress, that the time, as aforesaid limited for the consumption of the tea then on hand, was too short; whereby many zealous friends to the American cause, who had imported large quantities of that commodity, with design not merely to advance their fortunes, but to counteract the plan then pursued by the ministry, and India company, to introduce and sell in these colonies tea, subject to duty, are likely to become great sufferers; the greater part of the estates of many of them being vested in that article, and they, by that means, rendered incapable not only of paying their debts and maintaining their families, but also of vigorously exerting themselves in the service of their country:

And whereas, it was originally the design of Congress, that all India tea, which had been imported agreeable to the tenor of the said association, might be sold and consumed, but the time limited for that purpose proving too short;

Resolved, That all India tea, imported as aforesaid, expressly excepting all teas imported by or on Account of the East India company, now remaining on hand in these colonies, be sold and used:

And whereas, from the future importation of tea being prohibited, some tea-holders may be tempted to avail themselves of the scarcity which will be occasioned by it, and exact exorbitant prices for an article of little real value in itself, and which owes its worth to an habit, in many respects, pernicious to the inhabitants of these colonies,

Resolved, therefore, That Bohea tea ought not to be sold by retail in the smallest quantities, at a higher price, in any colony, than at the rate of three-fourth parts of a dollar per pound; and other teas at such a price as shall be regulated by the committees of the town or county where the tea is sold; and that all persons who shall either give or take a greater price for it, ought to be considered as enemies to the American cause, and treated accordingly. And it is earnestly recommended to all committees of inspection and observation, as well to be vigilant in carrying this resolve into execution, as those which prohibit the importation of India tea from any part of the world. It being the desire of Congress to exclude all teas, except such as may make part of the cargoes of prizes taken by the ships of war or privateers belonging to these

Ordered, That the above be published.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to repay Lieutenant Colonel Hartley one quarter cask of powder borrowed by him for the use of the continent.

The committee appointed to prepare a letter to the committee of safety of New Jersey, brought in a draft, which being read, was agreed to:

Ordered, That the same be transcribed, signed by the president, and transmitted.

The committee appointed to consider the representation and queries of James Mease respecting the sixth battalion of troops commanded by Colonel Irvine, brought in their report, which was read.

Resolved, That the certificates of magistrates, or other respectable inhabitants of the county of Cumberland, who have inspected and examined the companies of the said battalion, shall justify the pay master to pay the officers and the enlisted.

Resolved, That the Marine Committee be empowered to build two gallies to oppose the enemy’s vessels in bays and harbors.

Resolved, That the Committee for casting cannon be directed to contract for the casting forty howitzers, with a sufficient quantity of shells.

The committee appointed to take into consideration the application of Mr. James Hughes, late town major of Montreal, and one of the prisoners of the thirteen United Colonies, brought in their report.

Resolved, That Governor Trumbull of Connecticut direct the most effectual legal method, for securing the person of Jabez West, or his effects, to the value of the debt due to James Hughes, and to see that justice be done in the premises.

Adjourned to 10 oClock on Monday.

William Whipple to Meshech Weare

Enclosed you have some papers containing the late Resolutions of Congress [concerning privateering and the opening of American ports]…. I hope Colonel Bartlett will soon be here.  I Expect he will be set out before this reaches you.

Congress have been so exceeding engaged I have not been able to call their attention to the Report of the Committee on the application of your Committee but hope shall very soon be able to transmit their determination.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.