Congress responds to The Committee appointed to fit out Armed Vessels and settles issues of pay, commissions, rank, warrants, operations, and prizes. John Hancock shares with General Washington the Congressional “Resolution Relative to an Attack upon Boston, [that] passed after a most serious Debate in a Committee of the whole house, and the Execution Referred to you.” John Jay continues lobbying for a reduction in the number of New York delegates and Samuel Adams writes about Congressional responses to issues both petty and critical.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
A letter from General Schuyler, 14th December, 1775; a letter from Lord Stirling dated, Trenton, 14th December, and a letter from Captain Livingston, was received.
Congress responded to The Committee appointed to fit out Armed Vessels. Issues of pay, commissions, rank, warrants, operations, and prizes.
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to confer with the Indians lately arrived, and report to Congress.
The members chosen: George Wythe, Thomas Lynch, and Samuel Adams.
Agreeable to the orders of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to further consider the report of the Committee of Conference relative to an attack on Boston, and after debate, the president resumed the chair, and Samuel Ward reported, that the Committee had further considered the matter to them referred, and had come to a resolution, which he was ready to report. The report of the committee being read, the same was agreed to as follows:
Resolved, That if General Washington and his council of war should be of opinion, that a successful attack may be made on the troops in Boston, he do it in any manner he may think expedient, notwithstanding the town and the property in it may thereby be destroyed.
The Committee of Claims reported that there is a claim due to Benjamin Harrison.
Ordered, That the above be paid.
Resolved, That Thomas Jefferson, William Hooper, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Silas Deane, be a committee to examine the journals, and lay before Congress a list of the matters that are therein unfinished, and which are proper to be acted upon.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.
John Jay to Alexander McDougall
I am glad you think of reducing our Number. Five is certainly sufficient-3 of them to be a Quorum….Tomorrow I shall go to Elizabeth Town for a Week-and shall devote the first Leisure Hour I have to telling you twenty things about which want of time compels me now to be silent….
Samuel Adams to John Adams
I earnestly wish to enjoy, at least for a few Weeks, domestic Retirement and Happiness. I dare not however, urge an Adjournment of the Congress. It would indeed be beneficial to the Members & the public on many Considerations, but our Affairs are now at so critical a Conjuncture that a Separation might be dangerous.
Since you left us, our Colony has sometimes been divided, on Questions that appeared to me to be important. Mr C[ushing] has no doubt a Right to speak his opinion whenever he can form one; and you must agree with him, that it was highly reasonable, the Consideration of such Letters as you have often heard read, which had been assigned for the Day, should, merely for the Sake of order, have the Preference to so trifling Business as the raising an American Navy.
John Hancock to George Washington
Your letters of the 30th of November and of the 4th, 7th, & 11th of December being duly received were laid before Congress. To prevent the ill consequences, that might ensue from the backwardness of the men in the present service to reenlist, the Congress, as I informed you in my last, have written to the governors of Connecticut & Rhode Island, the council of Massachusetts Bay and the president of the convention of New Hampshire; In consequence of which letters they have strong hopes & confidence, that measures will be taken to complete your army….
I am further directed to inform you, that the Congress approve your taking such of the articles found on board the Concord, as are necessary for the army. The necessity of the case will, they apprehend, justify the measure, even though the vessel, upon trial, should, contrary to their expectation, be acquitted….
I must Beg leave to Refer you to the Enclosed Resolutions of Congress for your future proceedings, which I am Directed to Transmit to you. You will Notice the last Resolution Relative to an Attack upon Boston, this passed after a most serious Debate in a Committee of the whole house, and the Execution Referred to you, and may God Crown your Attempt with Success. I most heartily wish it, though individually I may be the greatest sufferer.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.