Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: December 8, 1775

December 8, 1775

Congress reads multiple Committee reports on war related matters and refers similar issues to other Committees. Samuel Chase supports implementing a government in Massachusetts based on the similar advice of Congress in November to New Hampshire and South Carolina, Robert Paine comments on the friendly meeting in Albany with Four Indian Tribes, the North Carolina delegates report on the unfriendly disposition to the American cause among the Highlanders “in the back parts of North Carolina,” and Edward Rutledge warns that “this session may determine the Fate, of a great Kingdom-unless the Parliament improve the opportunity now offered them, they may lose forever their American Colonies.”

Link to date-related documents

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Committee, to whom the petition of Captain Jenkins was referred, brought in their report, which was read.

The Committee to whom the letter from the committee of inspection of the county of Frederic, in the Colony of Maryland, relative to Allen Cameron, John Smith, and John Connolly, brought in their report which was considered.

Resolved, That the three men be imprisoned until a further order of Congress.

Resolved, That the petition of Jonathan Hudson, be referred to a Committee of three. The members chosen: Thomas Jefferson, John Penn, and Robert Morris.

Congress, considered the letters from Lord Stirling and passed three resolutions.

Resolved, That a surgeon be allowed to each regiment, at a specified pay per month.

William Barnet, jun. was elected surgeon of the eastern battalion in New Jersey.

Resolved, That a standing committee, to consist of one member from each Colony, be appointed to consider the application of the several persons applying to be officers in the American army, to examine their qualifications, and report to Congress.

The delegates chosen were: New Hampshire, J Bartlett; Massachusetts, Samuel Adams; Rhode Island, S. Ward; Connecticut E. Dyer; New York, J. Jay; New Jersey, W Livingston; Pennsylvania A Allen; Delaware C. Rodney; Maryland [blank];Virginia F. L. Lee; N Carolina J. Penn; S. Carolina T. Lynch.

Resolved, That Gunning Bedford, the deputy muster master general, town, be directed to muster the battalion in this Colony, and return to Congress as soon as possible.

Resolved, That further consideration of Lord Sterling’s letter, which respects the arresting and imprisoning soldiers for small sums, be referred to a committee: John Jay, James Wilson, and William Livingston.

The Committee on frauds report that they have made some proficiency.

The committee appointed to consider of ways and means for establishing expresses, brought in their report, which was read.

Ordered, That the letters from General Schuyler, General Montgomery, and Colonel Arnold, be published.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Robert Treat Paine’s Diary

Above 100 Sachems & Warriors of the Onandaga, Oneiado, Mohawk & Tuscarora Tribes met at Albany in Treaty. The Committee of Congress & Committee & Corporation of Albany met with them; General Schuyler & Mr. Douw were the only Commissioners present. The Indians gave each of the Committee names, vizt. Mr. Livingston, Terogha of the Oneida; Mr. Langdon, Sanghradow one of the Mohawk, & my Self, Carwash, meaning good news given by the Onandaga; they made a Speech & adjourned, to Monday next.

North Carolina Delegates to Elihu Spencer (Presbyterian Pastor, New Jersey)

In the present unhappy controversy between Great Britain and the Colonies it is the particular misfortune of North Carolina that in a very populous part of that Province there is seated a body of Men who not only refuse to become active in support of those rights and privileges which belong to them in common with the rest of the inhabitants of that Colony, but from the temper of mind which these people discover at present, there is some reason to apprehend that they might be led by any designing tool of Administration to pursue measures hostile to the friends of America and which might eventually involve them and us in a Melancholy scene of bloodshed…. It prevails, we are informed, among the Highlanders and we much fear is too general in the back parts of North Carolina. It probably has its source in ignorance and want of information with respect to the nature of the dispute and the rectitude of those who advocate the American side of the question.

We know that the education of most of these men have been religious, that they look to their Spiritual pastors with great respect and that truths from their mouths come with redoubled influence upon their minds; could one or more of this persuasion be prevailed upon to exert his good offices to give them information and Stimulate them to their duty the most beneficial consequences would result. With this in contemplation the Continental Congress has resolved “that it is necessary that two Ministers of the Gospel should be applied to go immediately amongst the Highlanders and Regulators in the Colony of North Carolina for the purpose of informing them of the nature of the present dispute between Great Britain and the Colonies….” [Editor’s Note. See Congressional Journal for the November 28th Resolve]

Edward Rutledge to Ralph Izard

You will receive by this conveyance a proclamation issued by Lord Dunmore-tending in my judgment, more effectually to work an eternal separation between Great Britain and the Colonies, than any other expedient, which could possibly have been thought of.

Tell me then, I beseech you, (before it is too late) what are the sentiments of the English Nation-are the people of that Country determined to force us, into Independence? Or do they really imagine, that we are so void of the Feelings of Humanity, and so insensible to the calls of Reason as willingly to submit to every Insult-to every Injury? Do they expect that after our Towns have been destroyed- our Liberties repeatedly invaded-our women and children, driven from their Habitations-our nearest Relatives sacrificed at the Altar of Tyranny, our Slaves emancipated for the express purpose of massacring their Masters-can they, I say, after all their injuries, expect that we shall return to our former connection with a forgiving, and cordial Disposition….

This session may determine the Fate, of a great Kingdom-unless the Parliament improve the opportunity now offered them, they may lose forever their American Colonies. May God grant them Wisdom to discover-and Virtue to pursue such measures-as may best tend to the Establishment of Peace, and Happiness….

Samuel Chase to John Adams

I entirely agree with You in Sentiment as to the Propriety, nay the Necessity of assuming and exercising all the Powers of Government. Our Convention only met yesterday afternoon. I shall, if possible, induce our People to set the Example, & first take Government.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.