Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: April 17, 1776

April 17, 1776

Several Committees are hard at work.  Oliver Walcott portrays America at a crossroads. The “material parts of the Association” are being done away with yet “an Accommodation with G. Britain upon former Terms…is impossible.”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Committee of Claims reported that a payment is due.

Ordered, That it be paid.

Resolved, That the Marine Committee be instructed to recommend to Congress “proper persons” for various positions.

Resolved, That the nomination or appointment of captains or commanders of continental vessels shall not establish rank, which is to be settled by Congress before commissions are granted.

Congress proceeded to the election of captains for the two frigates being built in Massachusetts.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be empowered to give orders for the arming and manning abroad any of the ships or vessels employed in the importation of cargoes for the continental account; the expenses and charges of such armaments to be paid by the Committee.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be empowered to import cargoes of salt on the continental account, in such ships or vessels as they employ to carry outward cargoes, and are obliged to insure on their return.

Resolved, That the committee of safety of the province of Pennsylvania permit John Young, Junior and Johnston Smith, to carry to Virginia, all such arms as they have purchase in Pennsylvania, for the use of the continental Army in Virginia, before the first day of May next; at such price as the said Committee shall regulate.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to supply Thomas Learning with 200 lb. of powder, for the use of the militia of Cape May.

Resolved, That the commanding officer at New York, be directed to order two companies of Colonel Dayton’s battalion to march to Cape May, there to remain till further orders.

Resolved, That the petition of Dr. Jackson be referred to the Committee of Claims.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Oliver Wolcott to Samuel Lyman

The Regulations on Trade which you by this Time have likely seen, will of Course, together with other operating Causes, do away imperceptibly the Material Parts of the association, and the Prudence of Committees must necessarily lead them to observe the Varying Scene-but this to you and by the bye….

I consider an Accommodation with G. Britain upon former Terms as being impossible-but you know my Opinion always was not to make speculative opinion a Principle, but let Principles be adapted to and established upon human Occasions and Exigences, and then Experience, Nature’s sure hand maid, will guide us right. I hope and believe that future Congresses will be as Wise and good as the present (I speak not thus in derogation of the present Congress)….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.