Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: December 20, 1775

December 20, 1775

Congress 1) resumes consideration of the General’s letters, 2) urges the “contending parties” in the border dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania to cease hostilities, return to the status quo ante, and resolve the dispute in a court of law, and 3) postpones consideration of “the report of the Committee of Conference, respecting Boston.” James Duane anticipates that there will be “a Recess about Christmas. I long for it impatiently.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Committee of Claims reported that there are claims due to sundry persons.

Congress agreed with the report of the committee on the petition of David Beveridge for an export-import exemption.

Resolved, That the original petition is unreasonable, but an amended version suggested and monitored by Congress is acceptable.

Congress resumed the consideration of the General’s letters.

Resolved, That the several vessels taken and carried into Massachusetts, by the armed vessels in the service of the United Colonies, be subject to the rules of the law of Nations, and libeled in the courts of admiralty erected in Massachusetts.

Certain instructions given to the president to be observed in answering the General’s letters.

The order of the day with regard to resolving itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the report of the Committee of Conference, respecting Boston, postponed.

The Congress, taking into consideration the disputes between the people of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, on the waters of Susquehannash, came to the following resolution:

Whereas a dispute subsists between some of the inhabitants of the colony of Connecticut, settled under the claim of said colony, on the lands near Wyoming, on the Susquehannah river, and in the Delaware country, and the inhabitants settled under the claim of the proprietaries of Pennsylvania, which dispute, it is apprehended, will, if not suspended during the present troubles in these colonies, be productive of pernicious consequences, which may be very prejudicial to the common interest of the United Colonies; therefore,

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Congress, and it is accordingly recommended, that the contending parties immediately cease all hostilities, and avoid every appearance of force, until the dispute can be legally decided; that all property taken and detained, be restored to the original owners; that no interruption be given by either party to the free passing and repassing of persons behaving themselves peaceably through said disputed territory, as well by land as water, without molestation of either of person or property; that all persons seized on and detained on account of said dispute, on either side, be dismissed and permitted to go to their respective homes; and that, things being put in the situation they were before the late unhappy contest, they continue to behave themselves peaceably on their respective possessions and improvements, until a legal decision can be had on said dispute, or this Congress shall take further order thereon; and nothing herein done shall be construed in prejudice of the claims of either party.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

James Duane to Robert R. Livingston, Jr.

Accept my Thanks for your obliging favor from Albany. Your Brother had already communicated Genl. Montgomery’s Successes which will raise his military Character to an exalted Degree of Eminence….I have had little of Captain Livingston’s Company, owing to Constant Attendance on the Congress, yet I have contributed to his spending the time agreeably here by introducing and mentioning him to my Friends….

Nothing worthy of particular animadversion has passed in Congress since your departure. The Virginians are distressed by Lord Dunmore at the head of a few despicable white people and Slaves. They cry aloud for the Aid of Congress. Nothing less than Six battalions are talked of; nay reported by a Committee, for their Defense! Four Battalions are ordered to be raised in Pennsylvania, One in the lower Counties. NewYork I suppose will not be forgotten. In short it is probable that by the spring there will be exclusive of our Province a Southern Army of 16 Battalions besides minute men and militia.

I think I may venture to guess that we shall have a Recess about Christmas. I long for it impatiently and hope soon afterwards to pay you a Visit.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.