Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: April 30, 1776

April 30, 1776

Congress declares that the ninth Article of Association is no longer operative. Samuel Adams writes that “the Colonies will feel their Independence” when they create their own governments and a secure a confederation.

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from Allan Cameron and a letter from John Smyth of the 29th, were presented to Congress and read.

Congress proceeded elect a committee for Indian affairs. George Wythe, James Wilson, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, and Edward Rutledge, were chosen.

The Committee of Claims reported, that there were several claims due.

Ordered, That they be paid.

The Committee to whom was referred the memorial of the committee of inspection and observation for the city and liberties of Philadelphia, praying the advice of Congress whether they ought to continue the exercise of the power of regulating the price of goods in other instances than that of green tea, brought in their report, which, being taken into consideration, was agreed to: Whereupon,

Resolved, That the ninth article of the association, which enjoined the inhabitants of the United Colonies to sell goods and merchandises at the rates they had respectively been accustomed to do for twelve months then last past, was, in its nature, a temporary regulation respecting the goods then on hand; But as those goods are nearly consumed, and a further supply must be obtained at an extraordinary risk and expense, and it is reasonable that adventurers should be encouraged by a prospect of gain adequate to the danger which may be incurred in the importation, and a free trade being now opened from the United Colonies to all parts of the world except the dominions belonging to the King of Great Britain,

Resolved, That the power of committees of inspection and observation to regulate the prices of goods, (in other instances than the article of green Tea,) ought to cease.

Ordered, That the above be published.

The Congress took into consideration the report of the Committee on General Washington’s letter of March 24.

Resolved, That the further consideration of the report be postponed.

The Delegates from New Jersey having laid before Congress a number of bills counterfeited to imitate the continental bills of credit,

Resolved, That a committee of six be appointed to consider this matter and report to Congress.  The members chosen were William Livingston, Thomas M’Kean, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Carter Braxton, and James Duane.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock on Thursday.

Samuel Adams to John Scollay (Boston Merchant and Politician)

I fully agree in Opinion with a very celebrated Author, that “Freedom or Slavery will prevail in a (City or) Country according as the Disposition & Manners of the People render them fit for the one or the other;” and I have long been convinced that our Enemies have made it an Object, to eradicate from the Minds of the People in general a Sense of true Religion & Virtue, in hopes thereby the more easily to carry their Point of enslaving them…. The diminution of public Virtue is usually attended with that of public Happiness, and the public Liberty will not long survive the total Extinction of Morals.

John Hancock to Council of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Gov. Trumbull of Connecticut and Gov. Cooke of Rhode Island.

I am commanded by Congress earnestly to request you to take the most speedy & effectual Measures to collect as much hard Money as possible, and to send the same to General Schuyler. Whatever Sum you may collect for this Use, you will please to draw on me for the Amount, and the Bills shall be honored.

The unprepared State of the Colonies on the Commencement of the War, and the almost total Want of every Thing necessary to carry it on, are the true Sources from whence all our Difficulties have proceeded. This Fact however furnishes a most striking Proof of the Weakness or Wickedness of those, who charge them with an original Intention of withdrawing from the Government of Great Britain, and erecting an independent Empire. Had such a Scheme been formed, the most warlike Preparations would have been necessary to effect it.

Samuel Adams to Samuel Cooper (Boston Congregationalist Minister)

The Ideas of Independence Spread far and wide among the Colonies. Many of the leading Men see the absurdity of supposing that Allegiance is due to a Sovereign who has already thrown us out of his Protection. South Carolina has lately assumed a new Government. The Convention of North Carolina have unanimously agreed to do the same & appointed a Committee to prepare & lay before them a proper Form. They have also revoked certain Instructions which tied the Hands of their Delegates here. Virginia whose Convention is to meet on the third of next month will follow the lead. The Body of the People of Maryland are firm. Some of the principal Members of their Convention, I am inclined to believe, are timid or lukewarm but an occurrence has lately fallen out in that Colony which will probably give an agreeable Turn to their Affairs. Of this I will inform you at a future time when I may be more particularly instructed concerning it. The lower Counties on Delaware are a small People but well affected to the Common Cause. In this populous and wealthy Colony political Parties run high. The Newspapers are full of the Matter but I think I may assure you that Common Sense prevails among the people….

I forbear to say anything of New York, for I confess I am not able to form any opinion of them. I lately received a Letter from a Friend in that Colony informing me that they would soon come to a Question of the Expediency of taking up Government; but to me it is uncertain what they will do. I think they are at least as unenlightened in the Nature & Importance of our political Disputes as any one of the united Colonies. I have not mentioned our little Sister Georgia; but I believe she is as warmly engaged in the Cause as any of us, & will do as much as can be reasonably expected of her. I was very solicitous the last Fall to have Governments set up by the people in every Colony. It appeared to me necessary for many reasons. When this is done, and I am inclined to think it will be soon, the Colonies will feel their Independence. The way will be prepared for Confederation, and one Government may be formed with the Consent of the whole-a distinct State composed of all the Colonies with a common Legislature for great & General Purposes. This I was in hopes would have been the work of the last Winter….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.