Second Continental Congress: December 23, 1775
December 23, 1775
Several Committees deliver Reports. But the Reports of at least 24 Committees have yet to be resolved before an adjournment can occur. Richard Smith provides the vote breakdown a) (7-2-1) with respect to the recommendation of the Grand Committee on the Boston Affair, and b) John Jay’s motion on the Connecticut-Pennsylvania border dispute: “4 Colonies to 3 & the rest either divided or absent.” Jay hopes he will be able to wish his wife a happy New Year in person.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
A letter from Lord Stirling of the 19th December was read.
A petition from Seth Paddock, and Sylvanus Coffin, of the island of Nantucket, was read, and referred to a Committee of Three. The members chosen: Thomas M’Kean, Benjamin Harrison, and Roger Sherman.
John Langdon, one of the committee appointed to go to Ticonderoga and confer with General Schuyler, laid before Congress a lengthy report of their proceedings, which was read. The Report included using “their endeavors to procure an accession of the Canadians to a Union with these Colonies.”
The Committee of Claims reported that there was money due to Ephraim Blaine.
Ordered, That the above be paid.
The Committee to whom the application from the Convention of the colony of New York for a loan was referred, brought in their report, which being read, was agreed to.
The Committee appointed to confer with the Indians, made report of their proceedings, which was read.
Whereas the colony of Connecticut has, by a certain act of their assembly, resolved that no further settlements be made on the lands disputed between them and Pennsylvania, without license from the said assembly,
Resolved, That it be recommended to the colony of Connecticut not to introduce any settlers on the disputed lands with Pennsylvania until further order of Congress, or until the dispute shall be settled.
The Committee on the state of the treasury brought in a report, which being read, and in part debated, further consideration was postponed.
The Committee appointed to consider what articles are necessary for the army, brought in their report, which was read.
The Committee appointed to examine the Journals, &c., brought in their report, which was read.
The Committee appointed to consider the petition of Peter Berton brought in their report, which was agreed to, as follows: “it is not advisable or proper for the Congress to grant the prayer of the said petition.”
Ordered, That the delegates of Pennsylvania call on the treasurers, and enquire what sum of hard money they have collected, and report to Congress.
The Report of the Committee appointed to draw instructions for a Committee during Recess of Congress was presented.
Resolved, That the Committee appointed to confer with the Indians conclude their conference with them with a friendly answer, and make them a small present.
The committee appointed to examine the journal, &c. laid before Congress a list of the several matters which are yet unfinished.
(1)Report of the proposed Articles of Confederation (adjourned from August). (2)The Committee appointed to draw instructions to Colonel Irwin have not yet reported. (3)Part of the report of the Committee appointed to take into their consideration the Colony of Virginia is on the table. (4)A report of the committee appointed to consider the information against persons refusing Continental currency and an application from the Convention of New York is on the table. (5) The Committee appointed to consider a petition for supplying the island of Grenada with lumber is still to provide a report. (6) The report from the Committee of the whole on the trade of the United colonies is still on the table and the Committee requested leave to sit again. (7)The report of a Committee appointed November 23rd to consider certain letters from General Schuyler is on the table. (8)The report of the Committee appointed to consider the petition of Berton is on the table. (9)The report of the Committee appointed to confer with the Indians now in this city is on the table. (10)The report from a of the committee appointed December 18th to consider certain other letters from General Schuyler is on the table. (11)A report from the Committee appointed to prepare a plan for establishing expresses is on the table. (12)Part of a report from the Committee appointed to confer with Mr. Kirkland is still on the table. (13)A Committee appointed November 23rd to enquire into certain frauds have not made a final report. (14)The report of the Committee appointed to consider Dow’s letter and the Indian treaty, is still on the table. (15) Two Brigadier-generals remain to be appointed. (16) Information against persons selling tea is yet to be considered. (17)The reports of the Commissioners for Indian Affairs in Middle and southern departments are on the table. (18)The report of the Committee on Lord Sterling’s letter is on the table. (19)The report of the Committee on the vessel taken in New Hampshire is on the table. (20) The report of the Committee appointed to repair to Ticonderoga and confer with gen Schuyler is on the table. (21) Report of the Secret Committee of Articles Necessary for supplying The Army (lies on the table). (22) Committee for devising Ways and Means for Supplying the Indian Nations with Goods (not yet reported). (23) Committee for inquiring after Virgin Lead and Leaden Ore also of the Cheapest Method of Making Salt appointed before the Adjournment (not yet reported). (24) Committee for devising Ways and Means for supplying the Indian Nations with Goods.
Ordered, That the several committees to whom any matters are referred, conclude their business with all convenient dispatch, and report to Congress.
Ordered, That the 2d paragraph in General Schuyler’s letter, of the 14th December, be published.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock on Tuesday next.
Richard Smith’s Diary I
The Journal read & some Passages marked. Letters from Lord Stirling & others read, my Lord gives an Account of the Situation & Condition of the 2 Battalions in Jersey & complains of the Increase of Toryism.
The House again in Grand Committee on the Boston Affair & after much canvassing & sundry Propositions offered, the Vote passed for directing General Washington to destroy the Army & Navy at Boston in any Way He & a Council of War shall think best, even if the Town must be burnt, 7 Colonies to 2, one not fully represented & our Colony divided, William Livingston being against the Resolution & myself for it. Mr. Hancock spoke heartily for this Measure.
A Committee chosen to confer with the Indians now at the State House. General Schuyler’s Letters finished….
John Jay to Sarah Jay
The Congress this Day refused to give me Leave of absence for next Week. There are but five New York Delegates here, Colonel Morris & Mr Lewis being absent, so that should either of us leave the town, the Province would be unrepresented. We expect however soon to adjourn…. Tomorrow or on Tuesday next the Congress will I believe determine the Time of Adjournment so that it is probable I shall have the Happiness of wishing you a happy New Year.
Richard Smith’s Diary II
Langdon reported the Proceedings of Himself & his Two Colleagues who have been sent by Congress to Ticonderoga, which were read & referred. Their Expenses reported by the Committee of Claims and Payment ordered. This Committee reported other Accounts which were allowed. Dyer read an Act of the Connecticut Legislature just passed, forbidding more Settlers to go on the Wyoming Lands on certain Conditions till further Order of that Assembly, Jay moved that it be recommended to Connecticut to extend the Time till further Order of this Congress, his Motion was carried 4 Colonies to 3 & the rest either divided or absent. The Delegates of Connecticut wanted to set aside this Vote because it was not carried by a Majority of the Colonies present
Debate Whether to admit Captain John the Tuscarora Chief and his Companions into Congress terminated in requiring the Committee to provide them with Food and Raiment for their Return Home. Colonel Lee & Cushing had Leave of Absence. Motion by Gadsden to publish the Part of Gen Schuyler’s Letters mentioned in Yesterday’s Notes, was carried in the Affirmative. Jefferson from the Committee brought in a List of Business before Us.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.