Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: December 30, 1775

December 30, 1775

Several Committees receive information and deliver reports. A Committee of Five is created to respond to intercepted letters. Richard Smith’s writes that “The Letters took up most of the Day.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Recent letters from General Washington, accompanied with a number of intercepted letters, were referred to a committee of five: Thomas Lynch, William Hooper, George Wythe, Silas Deane, and Samuel Adams.

Additional letters were referred to the Secret Committee.

The Committee appointed to inquire into the grounds of the information, respecting a quantity of arms and ammunition being to be procured, report, that they have received intelligence that there are several Tories armed and enlisted in the enemy’s service.

Resolved, That the committee communicate that intelligence to General Schuyler, and request that he disarm the Tories, and apprehend their chiefs.

Resolved, That an order be drawn on the treasurers in favor of the committee, to expedite the said business.

Ordered, That the delegates of Pennsylvania do immediately count the silver and gold in the treasury, and forward the same to General Schuyler; and that the persons sent by the above committee, accompany the appointed guards.

Resolved, That the treasurers employ a broker to collect gold and silver for paper bills of credit.

Resolved, That the contents of the intercepted letters, and the steps which Congress may take, be kept secret until further orders, except that the delegates of Virginia and South Carolina may send to their conventions, extracts of such parts of the letters, as they may think necessary for the welfare of their colonies.

The Committee on Captain Selliek’s petition, brought in their report, which was read.

The Committee on the petition of sundry merchants in Philadelphia, also brought in their report, which was read.

Adjourned to ten o’clock on Monday next.

Richard Smith’s Diary

The Letters took up most of the Day in the Perusal, the South Carolina Delegates pressed strongly to have the Originals delivered to them & the Virginia Delegates & the Congress to keep attested Copies, but it was opposed & the Letters referred to a Committee. There was no Objection to those Delegates taking attested Copies. General Washington has sent to General Howe a spirited Letter informing Him that whatever Severities are inflicted on Colonel Allen shall be retaliated on Brigadier General Prescot & the like as to other prisoners, a Copy of the Letter was read in Congress….. Myself from the [Secret] Committee made Report on Captain Simeon Selleck’s Petition.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.