Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: August 2, 1776

August 2, 1776

The Declaration is engrossed and signed. The Articles of Confederation is reconsidered, debated, and postponed. The war continues and Congress wants to know where and how the money is being spent. John Adams loves the fact that the states are endorsing republicanism and Abraham Clark secures the services of Chaplain Duche.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Declaration of Independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed by the members.  [Editor’s Note.  Neither Charles Thompson in 1776 nor the twentieth century historians who put together and expanded the Journal of Congress have included the text and the names of the signers]

Resolved, That two months pay be advanced to Monsieur Pellissier; he to be accountable.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee and Marine Committee be discharged from fitting out vessels with cargoes to Bermudas, for purposes expressed in the resolutions of Congress. [See June 6, 1776]

The Board of War brought in a report that held people in the command structure accountable to provide regular reports to Congress on military appropriations.

That General Washington be instructed to employ as many of the Stockbridge Indians as he shall judge proper:

That Jonathan Trumbull, [deputy] pay master [general] in the northern army, be directed to transmit to Congress, as soon as possible, an account of all the monies which have passed through his hands since his appointment to that office:

That the commissary general, and deputy commissaries in the several departments, be directed to transmit to Congress, weekly, an account of the sums of money they may respectively receive from the pay masters:

That the quarter master general, and deputy quarter masters general, in the several departments, be directed to transmit, weekly, to Congress, an account of the monies they respectively receive from the pay master general, or deputy pay masters general:

That the commissary general, quarter master general, deputy commissaries, and deputy quarter masters general, be directed to make monthly returns, at least, of the stores under their direction, and the distribution of them:

That the commanding officer in each department be directed to make returns, once a month, to Congress, of the drafts made by him upon the pay master, in his department.

Resolved, That George Walton be appointed to replace the absent Button Gwinnett as a member of the Marine Committee.

Resolved, that the Board of Treasury be discharged from proceeding on Thaddeus Sturge’s accounts, and that they be referred for settlement to the commissioners appointed to settle the accounts in the northern department.

The Marine Committee, delivered their report on the conduct of Commodore Hopkins which was read, and postponed.

The Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the Articles of Confederation; and, after some time, John Morton reported, that the committee had not come to a conclusion.

Resolved, That this Congress will, tomorrow, resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into further consideration the Articles of Confederation.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock to Morrow.

John Adams’ Notes of Debates

Limiting the Bounds of States which by Charter &c. extend to the South Sea.

Sherman thinks the Bounds ought to be settled. A Majority of States have no Claim to the South Sea. Moves this Amendment, to be substituted in Place of this Clause and also instead of the 15th Article….

Chase denies that any Colony has a Right to go to the South Sea.

Harrison. By its Charter Virginia owns to the South Sea….

Huntington. Admit there is danger, from Virginia, does it follow that Congress has a Right to limit her Bounds? The Consequence is not to enter into Confederation….

Stone. This Argument is taken up upon very wrong Ground. It is considered as if We were voting away the Territory of particular Colonies, and Gentlemen work themselves up into Warmth, upon that Supposition. Suppose Virginia should. The small Colonies have a Right to Happiness and Security. They would have no Safety if the great Colonies were not limited…. All the Colonies have defended these Lands vs. the K. of G.B., and at the Expense of all.

Jefferson. I protest vs. the Right of Congress to decide, upon the Right of Virginia. Virginia has released all Claims to the Lands settled by Maryland &c

[Editor’s Note.  See Journal July 25, 1776 and Adams’ Notes of Debates for that day]

John Adams to Richard Cranch

You mention the Exultation at a Declaration of Independence. Is not the Change We have seen astonishing? Would any Man, two Years ago have believed it possible, to accomplish such an Alteration in the Prejudices, Passions, Sentiments, and Principles of these thirteen little States as to make every one of them completely republican, and to make them own it? Idolatry to Monarchs, and servility to Aristocratical Pride, was never so totally eradicated, from so many Minds in so short a Time.

Abraham Clark to James Caldwell

At my coming to Congress, I moved for a Chaplain to Attend Prayers every morning which was carried-and some of my Starch brethren will scarcely forgive me for Naming Mr. Duche. This I did knowing without such a one many would not Attend. He hath Composed a form of Prayer Unexceptionable to all parties.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.