Congress “Resolved, That Friday next be assigned to consider the propriety of opening the ports of the United Colonies after the 1st of March,” considers the report of the committee on the state of the treasury, and passes six resolutions. Samuel Adams finds “everywhere some Men, who are afraid of a free Government, lest it should be perverted and made use of as a Cloak for Licentiousness. The Fear of the People abusing their Liberty is made an Argument against their having the Enjoyment of it.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Two letters from General Washington, dated the 14th and 16th December, with an enclosed letter from Dr. Morgan, a letter from Governor Trumbull, dated the 20th December, with a resolution of the Assembly of the colony of Connecticut, also a letter from sundry masters of vessels, dated September 19th, 1775, were read.
The Deputy muster master general sent to Congress sundry Muster rolls of the Pennsylvania Battalion and others.
Ordered, That the Deputy muster master General be directed to repair to New-Jersey, and muster the battalions raised in New Jersey, and return the rolls to Congress.
Resolved, That Friday next be assigned to consider the propriety of opening the ports of the United Colonies after the 1st of March.
Congress considered the report of the committee on the state of the treasury, and passed six resolutions.
The reports of the committees on General Schuyler’s letters, and the report of the Committee sent to Ticonderoga, were read.
Resolved, That the same be recommitted to John Dickinson, Thomas M’Kean, George Wythe, William Hooper, Thomas Jefferson, and John Langdon.
The report of the committee, to whom was referred a paragraph of Lord Stirling’s letter to the Congress, complaining that several of his recruits had been arrested and imprisoned for trifling debts, being taken into consideration, was agreed to as follows:
That it be recommended to the several legislatures in these colonies, whether assemblies or conventions, to pass acts or ordinances, prohibiting the arrest of continental soldiers for small debts.
Resolved, That the several letters received from Lord Stirling be referred to a Committee of three. The members chosen: Samuel Adams, William Livingston and John Jay.
Resolved, That the battalion raised in Pennsylvania, be supplied with gun brushes, prickers, double worms, screw drivers, and oil; and that it be recommended to the committee of safety of the said colony to provide the same.
Resolved, That it be recommended to all committees by whom any permits have been or may be granted, to transmit to this Congress, from time to time, a true account of the military stores, &c. imported, and of the produce exported, with the price and value of both.
Ordered, That the foregoing resolution be published.
The Committee appointed to prepare instructions to Lieutenant Colonel Irvine brought in a draft, which being read, was agreed to.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.
Samuel Adams to James Warren
The present form of our Government, you tell me, is not considered as permanent. This affords the strongest Motive to improve the Advantages of it, while it continues…. Certainly the People do not already hanker after the Onions and the Garlick. They cannot have so soon forgot the Tyranny of their late Governors, who, being dependent upon, and the mere Creatures of a Minister of State, and subservient to his Instructions or Inclinations, have forbid them to make such Laws as would have been beneficial to them or to repeal those that were not. But, I find everywhere some Men, who are afraid of a free Government, lest it should be perverted and made use of as a Cloak for Licentiousness. The Fear of the People abusing their Liberty is made an Argument against their having the Enjoyment of it; as if anything were so much to be dreaded by Mankind as Slavery.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.